PhysicianAssistant.com is your comprehensive resource for information and news on the physician assistant profession. Our goal is to make it easier for you to find relevant information about physician assistant programs, physician assistant associations, physician assistant salary, and physician assistant licenses. A physician assistant is a medical professional who provides diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive health care services under the direct supervision of a physician. A PA functions as a part of a medical team and practices general medicine. A PA’s duties may include conducting exams, ordering tests and x-rays, assisting in surgery, taking medical histories, making diagnoses and checking on patients in hospitals and then reporting to the primary physician. Additionally, PAs may specialize in different areas including general internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and more.
What is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant’s job differs from that of other medical professionals, such as medical assistants and nurse practitioners. A medical assistant is a non-licensed professional who performs daily clinical and clerical tasks in support of a physician, health professional or a medical team. Meanwhile, a PA works underneath a physician and is qualified to treat minor injuries, instruct and counsel patients, prescribe medications and to carry out therapy treatments. A physician assistant may also act as the principal care provider in a clinic in a rural area or may work in conjunction with a telecommuting physician.
Physician Assistant Programs
There are currently 170 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States. These programs generally last two years and follow a model similar to that of medical school. Students applying to a PA program are required to have completed two years of study in college. The majority of PA students have already obtained a Bachelor’s degree and previous healthcare experience prior to attending a physician assistant program. The first year of a PA program is comparable to the structure of the first year of medical school. Students undergo clinical training in addition to spending time in the classroom. The next step after completing a PA program is to become nationally certified by taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), which is overseen by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. A graduate who passes the exam earns the title of PA-C (Physician Assistant-Certified), and he or she may then go on to obtain their state physician assistant license. A PA consistently continues his or her education throughout their career. They are required to log at least 100 hours spent undergoing continuing medical education for every two year period and must pass an exam for recertification every six year period.
Learn More About Physician Assistants
Browse PhysicianAssistant.com to learn more about physician assistants. Whether you are a patient seeking information about PAs in your area or are interested in beginning a career in the medical field, PhysicianAssistant.com is your comprehensive resource. Check the site often for updated medical news and information related to physician assistants.