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Physician Assistants PA Employment

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS (PA) - EMPLOYMENT

Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on a team under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They are formally educated to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment.

Physician assistants provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician
Physician assistants provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician.

Duties

Physician assistants typically do the following:

  • Review patients' medical histories
  • Conduct physical exams to check patients' health
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as x rays or blood tests
  • Make diagnoses concerning a patient's injury or illness
  • Give treatment, such as setting broken bones and immunizing patients
  • Educate and counsel patients and their families—for example, answering questions about how to care for a child with asthma
  • Prescribe medicine when needed
  • Record a patient's progress
  • Research the latest treatments to ensure the quality of patient care
  • Conduct or participate in outreach programs; talking to groups about managing diseases and promoting wellness

Physician assistants work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon; however, their specific duties and the extent to which they must be supervised differ from state to state.

Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. The work of physician assistants depends in large part on their specialty and what their supervising physician needs them to do. For example, a physician assistant working in surgery may close incisions and provide care before and after the operation. A physician assistant working in pediatrics may examine a child and give routine vaccinations.

In rural and medically underserved areas, physician assistants may be the primary care providers at clinics where a physician is present only 1 or 2 days per week. In these locations, physician assistants confer with the physician and other healthcare workers 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.

Physician assistants are different from medical assistants. Medical assistants do routine clinical and clerical tasks and they do not practice medicine.

Last Modification: 01-26-2014
Source:
http://www.bls.gov