Physician’s Assistants have formal medical training that allows them to provide preventive, therapeutic, and diagnostic healthcare services but always under the supervision of physicians.
They can perform some of the tasks that were done exclusively in the past by physicians only. They can also serve as principal care providers where a physician is rarely available during the week, usually in rural areas.
Nature of Work
Doctor’s (Physician’s) Assistants work as members of a regular healthcare team. Their duties are usually determined by their supervising physicians and specific laws of the State. They can be found working in pediatrics, general internal medicine and family medicine.
They can also be involved in specialties such as geriatrics, orthopedics and thoracic surgery. They can take the medical history of patients, do radiology tests, and interpret results. They can also treat minor injuries, putting splints, casts and sutures, and helping patients undergo physical therapy. They are allowed to assist surgeons during surgeries.
Doctor’s assistants are allowed to give prescriptions for certain medications, counsel patients and order therapy. If necessary, they may check on patients in nursing care facilities and hospitals, or make house calls. They are required to report back to their supervising physicians afterwards. They may also have managerial duties, depending on the organization they work for, such as supervising other medical personnel, and ordering medical equipment and supplies.
If the physician’s assistant works as the primary care provider, they are required by law to coordinate and confer with the physician designated to supervise them and other medical professionals. In the absence of regular physicians, there are evidence that shows acceptance by both patients and doctors. They give satisfactory performance in terms of cost effectiveness and quality of care.
Physician assistants must have a two-year degree obtained from a physician assistant program. Some candidates prefer to get a bachelor’s degree in pathology, clinical medicine, biochemistry or pharmacology before entering physician assistant program. They should have high level of critical and deductive reasoning ability, have excellent communication and counseling skills and the desire to serve and help patients. Physician assistants must also be emotionally stable, self motivated and quick to make decisions during emergencies.