Physician Assistant

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Thesis: Physician assistants are well-recognized and highly sought-after members of the health care team who, with doctors, provide quality care to patients. In order to do that, training, hard work, and a good education are required.

I. As history says, physician assistants have always been a much needed commodity in health care.

A. Who came up with the idea for a physician assistant?

1. Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. came up with the idea in 1965.

2. He was chairman of the Department of Medicine at Duke University.

B. Why was there a need for physician assistants?

1. There was a shortage and uneven distribution of primary care
physicians.

2. He selected Navy corpsmen who received considerable medical
training during their military service in Vietnam. He based the
curriculum on the fast-track training of doctors during World War II.

II. Physician assistants are skilled health care practitioners who offer many common medical services.

A. Physician assistants have many demanding responsibilities.

1. Physician assistants can collect historical data, order lab tests, interpret
lab results, read EKG's, teach and counsel patients, assist physicians in
rounds, and record patient progress under a physician's supervision.

2. Physician assistants also have patient contact such as physical exams,
suturing of wounds, assisting in surgery, giving injections and
immunizations, venipuncture, applying casts, and prescribing
medications all under a physician's supervision.

B. Physician assistants have training to care for eight out of ten people who visit
a family practitioner.

C. What does the job involve and what are your limitations set by the doctor?

III. While physician assistants can do many things, there are differences between them and doctors.

A. Besides the title, doctors and physician assistants have slightly different
responsibilities.

1. Physician assistants practice medicine with the supervision of a
physician while a doctor is an independent practitioner.
2. The doctors have complete responsibility for the care of the patient.
Physician assistants share the responsibility.

3. Doctors also make themselves available for the more difficult and
complex procedures.

B. The main difference between a physician assistant and a doctor is education.

1. The Physician Assistant Program is about two-thirds of the time one
would spend in medical school.

2. Physician assistants don't have an internship or a residency.

IV. One of the most important things a physician assistant can have is a good education.

A. The first two years of college are very important.

1. A physician assistant will take a college curriculum and have classes
like English.

2. They will also take many courses in science like biology and
chemistry.

B. A Physician Assistant Program is very intensive but well worth it.
1. The first year includes basic science, behavioral science and clinically
related didactic courses.

2. The second year includes clinical rotations in a variety of areas such as
internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics,
obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and
geriatrics.

C. Certification is absolutely necessary in becoming a physician assistant.1. After completion of the Physician Assistant Program, you are eligible
to take the certifying examination of the National Commission on
Certification of Physician Assistants.

2. This is required. You must retest every six years to keep you Physician
Assistant Certification.

D. What kind of education do you need to be a successful PA and what type of...
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