Are you curious about a career as a physician assistant in the United States of America? Now you can learn what Physician Assistants do, the work environment, how to become one, salary, and job outlook.
What is a Physician Assistant? Physicians assistant is a term used in health care industry to describe a person who is trained to assist physicians and medical professionals. Physician assistants are qualified to perform many essential tasks that other healthcare providers cannot do. They have received formal training from accredited institutions that will help them work efficiently and effectively. A physician assistant (PA) performs tasks under the direction of a physician. These tasks include patient care, administration, documentation, and teaching patients and their family members about health problems and treatment options. A PA must have an associate’s degree and be registered with the National Board for Certification in Health-Related Professions (NBRCHP). There are no formal requirements for certification.
The American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the professional organization that works to promote PA profession. Physician assistants must first complete a one-year residency program before they can sit for certification exams. Upon completing this course, they may apply for certification and work as a PA. The scope of practice is governed by state regulations. In some states, PAs are required to have an additional degree. For example, in California, a physician assistant has to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree to qualify for license. In addition, a physician assistant must have one year of experience before they can take the exam for licensure. Physician assistants do not perform surgeries. Their role is to assist physicians in providing medical care.
Physician Assistants perform tasks that other healthcare providers cannot do, including taking vital signs, examining patients, preparing patients for procedures and surgeries, administering medications and IV fluids, diagnosing and treating illnesses, and prescribing treatments. Physician assistants are usually involved in the following functions: Administration An administration position involves running the PA office. This is important because it will require a person who has strong interpersonal skills and an ability to deal with people well. It also requires a PA who is detail oriented and can handle complex paperwork. The PA should have strong computer skills as well. This position includes working with the physician to see what medical tasks are required of them, and making sure that all paperwork is prepared and filed correctly. The administration position is usually the first one to be filled after the PA starts work. Most PA’s start in administration before they start working with patients.
Whereas a physician performs surgeries and is considered a medical doctor, a physician assistant is considered an allied health professional who is trained to assist physicians in patient care.
How to Become a Physician Assistant?
Physician assistants receive formal training through accredited PA programs in colleges and universities. These schools offer a certificate or associate’s degree. Some universities also offer graduate level programs for PA education. PA programs may be one-year or two-year programs. A student may earn the associate’s degree in less than one year. Two-year programs generally require 12 to 14 months of full-time study.
After completing the required course work, a PA may apply for certification. This process requires passing several exams and getting the required number of clinical hours. Students should keep their transcripts, and they must write the National Board of Certification in Health-Related Professions (NBRCHP) to verify their graduation from an accredited program.
PA career options include working as a physician assistant in hospitals, physician assistant clinics, and medical practices.
Whereas a physician is responsible for diagnosis and treatment, a PA is responsible for patient care and education. Physician assistants have an important place in the health care industry. They have been helping doctors since the 1950s. There were only two physicians in every 100,000 people in the early 1950s. Today, there are about one physician for every 150,000 people. This gap is expected to grow as the number of baby boomers reaches the age of 65. As baby boomers get older, they will be more likely to seek medical care and have health problems. PAs are needed to help provide quality medical care to those who need it. The role of PAs has also expanded with the development of new medical technologies. Physicians are able to use these new medical devices to provide better treatments. For example, a physician may use a CT scan to see inside the body. A PA may be asked to help interpret these images.
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