PA's: What is a Physician Assistant?

PA's: What is a Physician Assistant?

this is Kati vos good morning heartland and welcome back when visiting a doctor's office you have doctors nurses nurse practitioners and physician assistants but do you know the difference we have Alec Alison here this morning to break it down for us how are you doing good so you're a physician assistant so exactly what is a physician assistant that's a good question a physician assistant is a medical provider who is licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor and the word supervision is it kind of throws things off a little bit very rarely as a doctor actually directly supervising a PA in the exam room more what supervision means is a overseeing doctor is regularly reviewing PA charts and is available for consult if needed for that PA so what are your duties then when we I know that I actually saw you a couple months ago I thought I had the flu and I came to get my tests for the flu and you were there and I didn't really see a doctor but I saw you in a nurse so what are your duties so the duties of a PA are very similar to those of a physician or of a nurse practitioner as a PA we can diagnose and treat common illnesses we can prescribe medication in all 50 states we can also order and interpret laboratory testing and other diagnostic testing if necessary and of course we're there for educating patients also and this does vary depending on whether the PA is working in a hospital setting versus a clinic setting and also if they are specialized okay and you roughly just said something about nurse practitioners so what's the difference between the two that's a really good question and actually I get that question a lot in practice so pas and NPS are very similar in many ways and we're actually both classified in a kind of a larger category called mid-level providers and what that means is kind of in the hierarchy of healthcare providers we fall somewhere between an RN and a physician and both pas and NPS can again we can diagnose and treat we can prescribe medications order and interpret different laboratory testing educate really the big difference comes in our training nurse practitioners start off with their four-year bachelor's and in nursing and then we'll go on to complete their advanced nurse training during this time they choose a specialty this may the Pediatrics adult primary care this may be surgery whatever they choose to specialize in that's what they're trained in and when they're out in the field working that's what they work in it's a little bit different for pas we start off with the four-year undergraduate degree okay usually this is within a science like a biology or exercise science or chemistry and then we go on to do a PA PA training this is usually within a larger Medical School and we're kind of trained in a variety of different medical specialties but usually with the focus on primary care and so when we're out in training we actually have the choice to work either in primary care or we can specialize and if we choose to flip-flop or change things around we have the ability to do so another big difference between MPA and an NP depending on state regulations some nurse practitioners can actually practice independent of a physician whereas in all 50 states pas are required to practice under the supervision of a doctor okay now if you ever wanted to change and go back to school cuz you is it easier for you to become a doctor than if it is for somebody that is starting from scratch I don't actually know of any Brunch programs where you can bridge from a PA to a doctor there may be some out there I don't think it's very common it as far as my knowledge we have to actually go back and do medical school over okay so if somebody comes into the doctor's office and you're there treating them not to be alarmed you know what you're doing and there's always the doctor there to consult if you have any questions or if they have any other questions like that to as well right absolutely and the doctor may not necessarily be on site but they're always available by phone if ya we have any questions or any concerns it's always good to know you know we always see all all these different faces at the doctor's office with all their titles but it's nice to know what they actually are so thank you so much for clarifying that what we'll do is we'll post all this on our website at Heartland connection comm as well as complete family medicines which I forgot to mention that's where you actually practice is that complete family medicine so alright thanks so much for your time thank you and we'll be right back

3 thoughts on “PA's: What is a Physician Assistant?”

  1. PA are nothing more then fake wannabe doctors. They don't even have a medical doctorate but yet can prescribe you medication. This country downright sucks, I'll never understand the Legality of that

  2. We need to do a much better job at explaining ourselves as a profession.  Words like assistant, supervision, under a doctor, mid level should never ever be used to describe what we do!
    We are professionals who are licensed to practice medicine period.
    We work collaboratively with physicians and are important members of the health care team.
    We are at least masters level trained.
    The way we define ourselves and carry ourselves defines the way we are perceived and thus treated.  It is only as good as the quality of our own language.  Act like a professional, sound like a professional and get treated like a professional.
    Act like a midlevel or someone whom is supervised and be treated like a toddler.

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