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Online posts, reportedly by a physician associate, have sparked outrage for being “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.”

The Daily Mail website reported on details of social media activity by physician associates. These posts reportedly include PAs filming themselves lounging in bed at home while purporting to show a typical workday, talking gleefully about seeing “blood and gore,” and taking pictures of medical documents.

One such video, first posted on YouTube and then widely shared on social media platforms like Twitter, reports to show a PA who explains she stays at home on Tuesdays because it’s “easier to run the clinic from home” as rooms were not always available at the surgery.

The video shows her lying on her bed in different positions, surrounded by colorful cushions, while asking questions on the phone: “‘Were you diagnosed with anything long-term?’ she inquires. ‘So what symptoms do you have?’

In a second clip, the same woman tells viewers she has been asked to visit a vulnerable patient at a care home, rolling her eyes and saying: ‘I just don’t like visiting patients.’

The woman in the clip says, “I just don’t like visiting patients,” while preparing for a supposed patient visit.
She questions her own readiness, admitting, “Here we have a blood sugar monitor – sorry, I haven’t used this since I worked as a healthcare assistant.” She even packs an unidentified medical tool, stating, “I don’t know what this is, but I’ll just keep it in here.

More importantly, the woman expresses frustration with the perception of physician associates. She says: “The sad thing for us as physician associates is that no matter what we do, if we make even one mistake, because of the negativity around physician associates, [it’s assumed that] we made it because we’re not a doctor.”

The article clarifies that the PA claims this was a “role-play” and not a real patient interaction. The video, apparently filmed over a year ago, was supposedly posted by ‘accident’ and has since been removed. The PA+PER is unable to independently verify the content of the video, or if the woman featured is a physician associate.

Other physician associates have been sharing unprofessional content on social media, raising concerns about patient confidentiality and their professionalism, according to the Daily Mail.

In one instance, a PA posted a video on social media excitedly describing a particularly graphic case they had witnessed. They said: ‘”Guys, I don’t know how to process this, but I just saw, oh my god, the coolest case so far. Oh my god, there was so much blood and gore, oh my god. I know it’s not for everyone, but oh my god, that just gave me, like, an adrenaline rush. Yeah, I think I want to work in resus [the part of a hospital for people who need urgent treatment].”

Another concerning post featured a partially obscured DNACPR form, a document used to record decisions about resuscitation. The PA who posted it said they had filled it in “for a young patient.” While no identifying details were visible, there is a risk that the patient could recognize themselves in the post.
The Daily Mail also highlighted a YouTube video titled “A Day In The Life Of A UK Physician Associate” that features a PA describing a patient consultation as “a very long and complicated consultation. This is what you’re dealing with in general practice, where you’re having to manage chronic stuff.”

Social media connects us, but can also blur the lines between our work lives and personal lives. This can lead to ethical dilemmas, especially when it comes to patient confidentiality and maintaining professional boundaries.

These examples often highlight the number of PAs who simply don’t understand the significance of posting online content about their work in a medical field. This behaviour can often seem unprofessional, and if or when potential employers see these social media posts, especially when it picked up by large media companies, can often result in losing jobs, or failure to be appointed into new positions based on a social media search.

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