Who Are PA’s?

If you’re clicking through the internet trying to discover who PA’s are and what we do…keep reading!

Physician Assistants are medical professionals who are trained on a medical model to practice medicine as part of a health care team.  (what does this mean?)  What this means is that PA’s are able to take histories, perform physical exams, order and interpret diagnostic testing such as labs & radiology and prescribe treatment.

PA’s are educated on a medical model and depending on the program may have very diverse backgrounds before practicing medicine.  Typically, most programs include a didactic year (which is 3 semesters of classroom work only) and a clinical year (which encompass anywhere from 9-11 clinical rotations depending on the program).

One question I get asked a lot is “What can a doctor do that you cannot?”  This is a very complex question which depends on specialty, state and agreement with your specific supervising Physician and Institution (I will get into more of this later).

How do I view what PA’s do?

Generally speaking I believe that the Physician Assistant profession has helped enhance the medical model by the ability to provide advanced care to patients.  We treat acute problems and ailments as well as chronic conditions.

Currently, I work as a traveling PA for a locum tenens company as a nocturnal hospitalist PA.  I am responsible for approximately 30 patients overnight as well as any admissions that come in through the emergency department.  After I see the patient, perform a history and physical exam, enter my initial orders I consult with my supervising Physician to “staff” the admission.

PA’s work in many specialty areas and general medicine including but not limited to: Family practice, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic surgery, Hem/Onc, Physical Medicine and Rehab, Urology, Cardiology, Pulmonology….and many more and many sub-specialties divided within specialties!