The NHS five year forward view1 supports the development of a flexible workforce. Expanding the traditional medical workforce using physician associates (PAs) is increasing in popularity. Health Education England has invested heavily in the training of student PAs and the first cohort of PAs graduated in January 2018.
Understanding the experiences and managing the expectations of the PAs is vital for recruitment, retention and development of this extended medical workforce member into the local NHS. This research examines the influences, experiences, motivations and expectations of the student PAs, in an attempt to assist with the Health Education England future investment strategy and the task of retaining and developing qualified PAs in the local healthcare economy. Lessons learnt from this project are generalisable.