- Health

What Is A Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant (PA) refers to a licensed professional who works with doctors and can provide direct patient care. Physician assistants can be found in almost all primary care and specialty areas. 

PAs can diagnose and treat common illnesses and oversee minor procedures. In case of health issues, it would be best to visit a physician assistant in Gaithersburg, MD as soon as possible. A PA’s duties vary depending on the supervising physician and state law.

What Roles Does A Physician Assistant Perform?

Some of the roles and responsibilities a physician assistant performs include:

  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Prescribing medication
  • Making rounds
  • Assisting doctors in surgery
  • Advising patients on the best preventive care practices
  • Creating and managing patient treatment plans

It is essential to note PAs do not precisely work under direct supervision. They work in collaboration together, and most PAs even work independently operating within practices set by the state law.

The rules and regulations may vary depending on the state. Anything outside the set practices will require direct consultation with a physician. The state laws may also need the PAs to have defined agreements with physicians about what they can do.

Where Do PAs operate?

Physician assistants operate within medical settings such as:

  • Medical offices
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Community health centers
  • Workplace centers
  • Schools

Is a Physician Assistant the Same as a Nurse?

It is common for many to confuse the roles a PA performs with the functions of a nurse. Even though they perform almost similar roles, the training and specialization required for each are quite different.

A physician assistant undergoes general medicine training with a curriculum centered on diseases. The training is similar to that of a medical student. A PA can also specialize in different areas on completion of their studies. Advanced training is required for specialization. 

Some of the common specialty areas include:

  • Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Radiology
  • Dermatology
  • Internal medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • General practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Family medicine

A nurse practitioner studies advanced nursing. The training and education are patient-based. Nurses also have to pick a specialty before starting their graduate studies and work in that area. 

Qualifications to Become a Certified PA

  • To become a certified PA, an individual needs a bachelor’s degree emphasizing the sciences from an accredited college.
  • Complete a physician assistant program which typically lasts for about two years.
  • Complete a licensure requirement.

Reasons to Visit a Physician Assistant

Some of the reasons why you should visit a physician assistant for any medical concerns are:

  • It is often easier to schedule an appointment with a PA than a doctor. A doctor may have a long waiting list prolonging your trouble unnecessarily.
  • PAs focus on preventive care practices, patient education, and management of chronic illnesses.
  • PAs have comprehensive training, ensuring they can treat many different health concerns.
  • It is common for PAs to notice a different medical issue when treating you for another health problem. The PA may refer you to a physician for further attention.

Physician assistants play an essential role in the provision of health care. PAs have thousands of hours of training and are versatile and collaborative, improving the health care access and quality for many patients.

About Dee Marsh

Read All Posts By Dee Marsh