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Physician Assistant Profession Overview

Career Profile - Physician Assistant Video Preview

What Is a Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant (PA) is a licensed medical professional who holds an advanced degree and is able to provide direct patient care. They work with patients of all ages in virtually all specialty and primary care areas, diagnosing and treating common illnesses and working with minor procedures.

With an increasing shortage of health care providers, PAs are a critical part of today’s team-based approach to health care. They increase access to quality health care for many populations and communities.

PAs are commonly employed at hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient centers, and nursing homes. They spend a majority of their time on their feet making rounds and working with patients. They are also responsible for administrative duties such as updating patient records, taking notes, and communicating with patients online.

From (https://college.mayo.edu/academics/explore-health-care-careers/careers-a-z/physician-assistant/)


What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

PAs’ specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their level of experience, their specialty, and state laws.

Generally, PAs can:

  • Take medical histories
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illness
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Prescribe medication
  • Counsel on preventive care
  • Perform procedures
  • Assist in surgery
  • Make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Do clinical research

From (https://www.aapa.org/about/what-is-a-pa/


Would I be successful as a PA?

The role of a PA requires the following traits:

  • Intelligence, sound judgment, and intellectual honesty
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • The ability to respond to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner
  • Respect for yourself and others
  • Adherence to confidentiality in communicating with patients
  • Commitment to the patient’s welfare

From (https://paeaonline.org/how-we-can-help/advisors/what-is-a-pa)

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 Last Modified 10/24/23