Physician Assistant – Who Are They and What Do They Do and How They Work

Physician Assistant

Last Updated on April 21, 2021 by Team Experts

A physician assistant is a medical professional who works under a senior physician to provide primary care. Physician assistants or PAs form the core primary health team that treats patients. PAs work under and alongside doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. 

While many people only think of nurses and doctors when they think about healthcare, many unsung heroes are devoting their lives to the sector. It is no wonder that healthcare is one of the more prominent employers in the USA. 

As healthcare care is booming due to pre-existing factors and the pandemic’s effects, many people are considering a career in medicine. While becoming a doctor might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a PA offers a great alternative to more popular careers in medicine. 

What Are Physician Assistants 

PAs are officially classed as medical support professionals. Their job is to aid in patients’ primary care by providing medical aid just like a physician would do. Depending on state laws, they have to be supervised by a physician, however. 

PAs are directly more involved with patient care than most physicians. Their tenure of education is also much shorter than a doctor’s. Instead of the usual fourteen years of education that a doctor needs, a PA completes their education within just seven years.

PAs are one of the most rapidly growing jobs. This is not just in healthcare but across every industry. 

In the medical hierarchy, PAs are mid-level providers. This puts them above registered nurses but below surgeons and physicians. 

Don’t confuse a PA with a medical assistant. The latter is responsible for doing basic tasks in a clinical setting, while the former requires seven years of education and a Master’s degree to be certified.

What Do They Do?

PAs are responsible for the primary care of patients. They handle a variety of responsibilities. Sometimes they are required to work under the direct supervision of a physician or surgeon. This depends from state to state, as the laws are different in each state. 

Most PAs work full-time in hospitals and clinics. One advantage that they have over physicians and surgeons is that their schedule is much more normal working hours. Their work timings are more regular and often shorter than a doctor’s would be. 

Their salaries are nothing to scoff at either. A PA’s median salary in 2019 was around $112,000 a year. 

Since PAs are mid-level medical providers, they have a wide range of responsibilities. PAs are responsible for performing physical tests on patients, ordering various diagnostics tests, interpreting their results, diagnosing patients’ illnesses and injuries, conduct clinical research. They can even be responsible for prescribing medicine and even in assisting in surgery. 

Final Words 

Becoming a Physician Assistant can be a rewarding career. Not just financially but emotionally and morally as well. However, while becoming a PA is not as difficult as becoming a doctor, it is no joke either. If you want the best chance to get into a PA program, check out the information at My PA Resource.

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She has over 7 years of experience writing about technology, education, digital marketing, general and business. Her experience in the tech industry (fieldengineer, wowtechub, techsprohub, techinfobeez) has taught her how to write engaging, informative content that makes complex issues accessible to a wide audience. Follow her on Linkedin

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