Physician Assistant? Who are They and What Do They Do?

A physician assistant is a health care worker that works collaboratively with physicians and they are supervised by physicians and surgeons. Its very common that people confuse PAs with medical assistants who are the ones who perform routine clinic and cleric tasks. PAs are trained to be able to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services to patients as they are being supervised by a physician.

As PAs work on a health care team, they perform tasks such as taking and filing a patient’s medical history, they give patient examinations and determine the right course of treatment with the physician’s approval and supervision, PAs are able to order and interpret the results of laboratory tests and x-rays, and they can diagnose a patients condition. Even though PAs can do all this, they still have to be supervised by a physician. Assistants are able to do sutures for serious cuts, they do splints, and give patients casts.

PAs also work in offices where they record and file patient progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and they order therapy for patients who need to be rehabilitated. The duties and responsibilities of a physician assistant are determined only by physicians and the law of the state they are practicing in. Students who are training to become PAs should definitely check their state laws so that they know the limitations they’re going to have while practicing in their current state. In the United States PAs are required to complete a PA program that is accredited and they have to pass the national board certification exam that is administered by the AAPA so that they can get their state license. These PA programs usually last for 2 years and they are full time with the first year involving students doing coursework and the second will have them doing clinical rotations.

These PA programs can most commonly be found in allied health centers, late-night academic health institutions, medical schools, and they are at 4 year colleges. There are even community colleges, military institutions, and hospitals that have classes for PAs. There are more than 140 PA college programs that have been accredited by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), so there are plenty of programs that you can choose from. More than 90 of these PA programs require applicants to have a master’s degree while rest require a bachelors or associates degree, but most applicants already have a bachelors degree.

According to the United States Department of Labor "The medical career of physician assistant held about 62,000 jobs in 2004. The number of jobs is greater than the number of practicing PAs because some hold two or more jobs. For example, some work with a supervising physician, but also work in another practice, clinic, or hospital. PAs are doing a lot and according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, about 15 percent of actively practicing PAs worked in more than one clinical job concurrently in 2004." More than half of jobs were in the offices of medical doctors. About a quarter were in hospitals, public or private healthcare institutions. The rest were mostly in outpatient care centers, including health maintenance organizations; the Federal Government; and public or private colleges, universities, and professional schools. A few were self-employed." This is a phenomenal career that is going to always be high in demand.

1 comment:

  1. physician assistant is a emerging career. the jobs in this career are increasing rapidly.