What I Do as a Physician Assistant - Lisa CunninghamPhysician Assistants (PAs) are a vital part of any urology practice. Deployed to support both urologists and patients, the physician assistant has a multifaceted role that mirrors the needs of patients and the intricacies of their specialized medical field. Working according to a varied schedule and in close consultation with attending urologists, physician assistants see pre-operative patients, take in-depth patient histories, conduct physical exams, order laboratory tests and data, formulate differential diagnoses, develop plans of care, perform surgical procedures, prescribe medications, and educate patients about treatment options for urological disorders.

Enhancing the Coordination of Urology Care

Physician assistants are part of a seamless multidisciplinary team that handles a variety of disorders, including recurrent urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, prostatitis, interstitial cystitis, enlarged prostate, kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, male and female infertility, and cancers of the urinary tract such as prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer and testicular cancer. Physician assistants act as the liaison between the competing demands of patients, staff and family on their attending physician’s time. The physician assistant spends more time in the clinic undertaking routine communications for the attending urologist, allowing the physician to focus on more challenging issues.

Improving the Quality of Urology Care

Since a large part of a urological practice is non-surgical, better patient outcomes can be achieved through prompt patient-centered treatment. Using a team-based approach that includes physician assistants greatly improves the quality of care. The PAs treat patients with a huge variety of urologic disorders, usually focusing on general urology. They see new and returning patients, review signs and symptoms, initiate workups on new patients, manage non-surgical conditions, screen patients for surgical conditions, finalize discussions regarding surgery, and refer patients to the most appropriate specialist for more complex conditions. PAs also engage in post-operative procedures, including assessing incontinence and sexual function and providing education and therapies to boost recovery. In fact, physician assistants ensure that patients get twice as much access to quality treatment, support and education while also improving the quality of care provided by the urologists.

Delivery of Patient-Centered Urology Care

Urologists and their PAs usually develop effective patient-centered teams in which the PAs offer pre-operative patient education classes on surgery and on common postoperative complications. Spouses and their partners attend the classes and learn to make informed decisions during the course of treatment. Physician assistants also work very closely with patients during evaluations and diagnosis of urologic conditions, treatment of non-surgical conditions, post-operative rehabilitation, and general urologic procedures like urethral dilations, wound management and catheter changes, guiding patients through the complexities of urology care with kindness and educational support.

For more information on the effective management of urologic conditions, visit the website of the Advanced Urology Institute or schedule an appointment today.