What is known?
In our current COVID-19 climate, medical workload is high and, at the same time, PAs are increasingly being recruited into primary care due to the recent funding incentives. In order to successfully integrate PAs into the medical team, they need to be appropriately supported and supervised in order to maintain patient safety. This responsibility can fall to a GP who is experienced in training doctors or other professionals but may have little experience of the PA role itself. If not done appropriately, this can lead to PA job dissatisfaction or failure to clinically thrive.
What is the question?
How can clinical supervisors successfully support and supervise this new healthcare professional in primary care; what factors should be considered here? What are the main components of the role of a PA clinical supervisor in contrast to other healthcare professionals?
What was found?
Qualitative feedback from band 6 and 7 PAs in Sheffield demonstrated they felt well supported by their clinical supervisors on the whole. Those that did not feel supported stated this was due to an inadequate induction period, absence of structured support and/or debriefing from their supervisor, or inadequate communication from their supervisor. These recommendations support the clinical supervision stream identified in the previously proposed PA preceptorship scale.5
What is the implication for practice now?
Our proposed five-point recommendations include, but are not limited to, the presence of an induction period, an initial discussion of the role and frequency of supervision, one or two named clinical supervisors alongside other clinicians who support the PAs day-to-day work, clinical support that is initially more intensive but otherwise remains available when the PA feels it is required, and formal supervisory meetings that address clinical and pastoral components.