A physician assistant job description outlines the duties and functions of an occupation that is titled physician assistant. The physician assistant, or PA is a medical professional who works with a doctor or on a team with several doctors to perform medical services for patients.
The PA is a graduate of an accredited medical education institution and is certified and licensed by the state to practice medicine while under the supervision of a medical doctor.
The physician assistant job description allows the PA to perform physical exams, diagnose and also treat illnesses, order tests from a laboratory and interpret those tests, perform various medical procedures, act as an assistant during surgery, provide counseling and education for patients and make hospital and nursing home rounds. There are licensing procedures for physician assistants to practice in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The education of a PA is very much like that of any doctor where a curriculum of medical studies is provided and is taught in a combination of classroom instruction and practical application. The coursework is rigorous and intensive and very competitive, and the average length of time that is takes to be come a PA is 27 months.
Admission to an institution that is geared for PA education is very difficult and competitive, where students must have completed at least two years of college with emphasis on science and behavioral science. These courses would be very similar to the premed courses that medical school candidates would normally take in college. Courses such as chemistry, physiology, anatomy, biology and microbiology would be typical courses that would be required. Having prior experience in healthcare is an added plus, and some schools require it.
There are over 2,000 hours of clinical rotations that are completed by PA students in preparation for their profession with the emphasis being on primary care in physician’s offices, ambulatory clinics, and long term care or acute facilities. The rotations include internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, pediatrics, emergency care, and psychiatry.
Once a PA becomes licensed, there is a lifetime of learning with the requirement of 100 hours being completed every two years.
In the physician assistant job description, Doctors and PA’s work as a team together and the PA is supervised by the doctor, but that doesn’t mean that the doctor always has to be there physically. If they are on the same page, it is easy and proper to keep a paper and electronic trail of what is being done in the ways of caring for patients. The physician will delegate duties to the PA and the PA will be able to make decisions within the scope of authority that is delegated for that particular disease of treatment. There will be a team model that everyone will adhere to which is a good way to keep track and work within a common framework.
The history of care that is given by PA’s is very good and a patient can request to be seen by one if they so desire. As a rule patients are just as satisfied with the care that they receive from PA’s as they are from regular doctors.
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