(Closed) Can someone explain what a Physician Assistant does?

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

PA’s are in a sense like a normal provider. They work in hospitals and doctors offices (clinics), see patients, perform exams, write scripts, order labs, etc. Everything you would see a doctor for. Education (I think 2 years) and licensure are required and they have to work under a licensed provider such as Doctor, Nurse Practioner, Dentist, ect. The doctor has to review and sign off on the PAs patients visits and prescriptions written. Licenses must be renewed every so many years based on states guidelines. Its a fantastic profession with many channels and opportunities. 

 

Post # 5
Member
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

😉 no the doctor isn’t looking over the PAs shoulders. Basically the PA is schooled in basic care, and can do a specialty if wanted like OBGYN, Dental, Family, Peds, ect. What the ‘supervision’ means is that the PA cannot operate thier own practice and be the sole provider of care. It also means the Doctor in the practice has to basically sign his name on the PAs patient documentation.

for example: you need to make an appt with your primary care office. Your actual doctor doesn’t have any slots open so you agree to see the PA. The PA conducts your whole appt…. you never see the doctor unless you have something REALLY strange or serious that the PA cannot handle. After you leave your appt, the PA sends your chart (or visit record) over the doctor. The doctor reads through it (or in todays world doesn’t so much care or even read it) and signs his name on it saying he agrees with the PA regarding your visit for the day.

 

 

Post # 6
Member
1021 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Just to add to what Bubblefish said, I see a PA at my dermatologists office. From a patient’s standpoint, it’s basically the exact same experience as seeing a regular doctor. She’s actually one of the best “dermatologists” I’ve had. She’s knowledgable, takes time to listen, and doesn’t make me feel rushed. 

Post # 7
Member
7293 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

It’s basically being in a Doctor type role without doing all of medschool. It’s similar to a Nurse Practitioner as far as capabilities/responsibilites.

I see a PA for my yearly OBGYN. She does the exams, writes the scripts etc.

Schooling is somewhat tough to get into ( you will need some prior healthcare experience) it’s material is condensed and intense, but the rewards are immense!

Post # 10
Member
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

PA’s aren’t used at my doctor’s office, but there are many in the hospital I am at. They are not obscure.

Post # 11
Member
7293 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@Quackadoo:  You could plug in Physician Assistant in a job search website to see what jobs pop up in your area! 

I have seen everything from government jobs like the VA to local DR’s offices/ subspecialty practices. 

Post # 13
Member
1042 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

I think ultimately, you need to decide if it will bother you to need a doctor to practice. If that’s something that will not bother you, then go for it! Being a PA is an awesome job. If, however, in the future you could see yourself wanting your own practice, writing prescriptions independently etc, you may want to consider going the nurse practitioner route.

ETA: Scratch  the part about writing prescriptions. PA’s can prescribe many medications autonomously.

Post # 15
Member
1042 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Ugh, I totally understand how hard of a decision that would be. Honestly though, if you really want to be a physician, I can’t imagine you ever being 100% happy as a PA.

This is just my opinion, so take it as you will, but I think you would be better to apply to some “lower quality” medical schools that are more likely to take you, than to try and change your career path completely.

Granted, life happens, and if medical school doesn’t work out. You can always learn to be happy another way.

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