I. Job Description
Physician Assistants, also called PA's, practice medicine under the guidance and supervision of a physician or surgeon. They are trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide adequate treatment. Physician Assistants typically do a wide variety of duties throughout the day. While working under the supervision of a physician or surgeon they do physical exams and check the patients’ health while reviewing their medical records. They order and interpret diagnostic test, such as X-rays or blood test and make preliminary diagnosis concerning a patient’s injury or illness. They also provide treatment, such as setting broken bones and giving immunizations while counseling family members on the condition of their loved ones. When needed they also prescribe medicine, record patient’s progress and complete needed insurance forms. A physician assistant specific duties and the extent of the supervision vary from state to state. Physician assistants work in all area of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine to psychiatric medicine. The work of the physician assistant depends in large part of their specialty and what their supervising physician need them to do. Some examples of what physician assistants may do if working in surgery they may close incisions and provide care before and after the operation. In rural areas they may be the primary care giver while the doctor is only present once a week. In these locations, physician assistants confer with the physician as needed and as required by law. Some physician assistants make house calls or visit nursing homes to treat patients, reporting back to the physician afterward. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Physician Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm) (visited May 27, 2013).
II. Education and Certification
References: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Physician Assistants, on the internet athttp://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm (visited May 27, 2013)
Coplan B. “Salary discrepancies between practicing male and female physician assistants.” Presented at: American Academy of Physician Assistants 39th Annual PA Meeting. 2011; Las Vegas, Nevada.
Glossary of Career Education Programs/ Medical and Health Professions/ Physician Assistant: Educational on the internet at http://www.arc-pa.org.acc_programs/
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