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About the Profession

pa-about_the_profession

What is a Physician Assistant?

  • Physician Assistants (PAs) are health care professionals trained in the medical model at nationally accredited educational programs.
  • PAs are not independent clinicians.
  • PAs are highly skilled professionals licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician.
  • PAs have the ability for autonomous decision making and patient management which contributes to the physician/PA team, and ensures the highest quality standard of patient care.
  • PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse rural and urban populations.
  • Once PAs obtain national certification, they can practice in any discipline of medicine and can change disciplines without additional formal training.
  • PAs must re-certify every 6 years and obtain 100 hours of CME every 2 years to maintain certification.

What are abilities of a Physician Assistant?

  •  Elicit medical histories
  • Perform physical exams
  • Order & interpret labs and diagnostic tests
  • Manage acute illness & chronic diseases
  • Prescribe medication
  • Write patient orders
  • Perform Patient Education & Counseling
  • Make referrals
  • Perform specific procedures
  • Assist in surgery

What types of Procedures are PAs trained to perform?

PAs are trained to perform many types of procedures, here are some examples:

  • Venipuncture
  • Splinting/ Casting
  • IV Access
  • Urinalysis & Microscopy
  • Arterial Puncture
  • Wet Prep Analysis
  • Surgical Drain Placement & Removal
  • Urinary Catheter Placement
  •  Shave, Punch and Excisional Biopsy
  • Suturing & Stapling
  • Incision & Drainage
  • Bursal & Joint Injections
  • Lumbar Puncture
  • Central Line Placement
  • Nasogastric Tube Placement
  • Chest Tube Insertion
  • Thoracentesis
  • Intradermal, Subcutaneous, Intramuscular injections

In what areas of medicine and surgery can PAs practice?

  • Family Practice
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • CT Surgery & Vascular
  • Pediatric Medicine
  • Transplant Services
  • Women’s Health
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic Medicine
  • Critical Care
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Cardiology
  • Radiology
  • Dermatology
  • Pain Management
  • Endocrinology
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Pulmonology
  • Academic Medicine
  • Hematology/ Oncology
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Nephrology
  • ENT
  • Urology
  • Urgent Care

What career opportunities are available for PAs?

  • Physician Solo or Group Office
  • Industrial Work Sites
  • Hospital
  • Armed Forces
  • Community Health Center
  • Dept of Veteran Affairs
  • Surgical Center
  • Indian Health Service
  • Nursing Home
  • Public Health
  • Long Term Care Facility
  • Federal Government
  • Home Health Agency
  • Medical Staffing Agency
  • Hospice
  • International Medicine
  • Correctional Facility
  • Health Care Management
  • Clinical Research
  • Medical Education
  • Medical Sales