Physician assistants, as the name suggests, are professionals whose main job is to assist physicians in their work. They work under the supervision of a qualified and registered physician and even when the physician is not physically present, they are expected to report on their activities to their supervising doctor.
To qualify as a physician assistant, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on science courses such as anatomy. You need to apply to a Physician Assistant Training Program to obtain a masters degree. The training programs are quite intense, combining theoretical and practical classes in a hospital environment. After completing the training program, the student must pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination.
The Role of Physician Assistants.
Physician assistants work in all areas of medical practice, from basic primary care to geriatric care, pediatrics, and even emergency medicine. Their roles can be summarized:
1. Studying diagnostic tests and developing basic treatment plans
Physician assistants can perform, order and interpret diagnostic tests. They also are authorized to perform physical tests on patients. Based on the results of the tests, physician assistants can develop a treatment plan but only after consulting with the physician. They are allowed to prescribe medication as part of a treatment plan.
2. Educating patients on preventative health
Physician assistants devote their efforts to educating patients and their families on the steps that can improve disease management and prevent its worsening. They also help by warning and educating people about harmful habits and health hazards.
3. Collecting Patient Histories
When patients go to a facility for the first time, physician assistants interview them to obtain any family history that might have a bearing on the patient’s state of health. Such records are maintained at the hospital and they inform the treatment plan of a patient.
4. Assisting in Surgical Procedures
Some physician assistants focus on being surgical assistants. They perform pre and post surgical roles such as preparing and counseling the patient and monitoring the healing process after surgery.
The essence of a physician assistant’s job is to lighten a physician’s work load. They make sure that the small number of doctors available see as many patients as possible. Physician assistants play a key role that makes them vital to any medical facility’s operation. At the Advanced Urology Institute for instance, every physician is teamed up with one physician assistant to ensure maximum productivity. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.