Physician Assistant

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MaKenna Miller
26 October 2010

Physician Assistant
Physician Assistants practice medicine under the direction of physicians and surgeons. Physician Assistants are trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as assigned by a physician. They take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x rays, and make diagnoses, and also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting. They can also prescribe certain medications, by states consent. In some establishments, physician assistants are responsible for management duties, such as ordering medical supplies or equipment and supervising medical technicians and assistants. However, in rural or inner-city clinics, physician assistants may be the main care providers because a physician is present only 1 or 2 days a week. Physician Assistants may also make house calls or go to hospitals or nursing care facilities to check on patients, and they report back to the physicians afterwards (“Physician Assistant”, BLS).

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of South Alabama, and the University of New Mexico all have physician assistant programs. As of 2000, there were one hundred and twenty five programs. Average class size in a physician assistant program is about thirty one, and in order to be considered a student must have good grades, consistent B’s in the least. Working or volunteering in the medical field will increase chances of acceptance into a program (“Physician Assistant” Ludwig). Physician assistant educational programs usually take at least two years to complete for a full time student, with most programs being at schools of allied health, academic health centers, medical schools, or a four year college. Few programs are at community colleges, military, or at hospitals. Many accredited physician assistant programs have clinical teaching affiliations with medical schools. Most...
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