What does a Physician Assistant do?

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Surgeons | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 8, 2014

physician assistantFor those unfamiliar with the medical landscape, what a physician assistant does may be confusing. Do they bring the physician coffee when they need it, or make sure their schedule is free of conflicts? No, their contributions to patient care are much more involved. In this post we’ll discuss what a physician assistant is, the education and training necessary to become one, and what exactly they do during surgery.

What is a PA?

Physician Assistants (or PAs for short) are medical professionals who work with and directly under the supervision of a physician. In short, PAs are trained in medicine and assist the primary physician in procedures.

The primary difference between physicians and physician assistants is the level of education and training required. PAs are educated in many of the same subjects that physicians are – in fact they may even attend the same classes. But physicians are required to undergo more education, and also complete an internship and residency after they graduate. PAs do not have to meet these requirements.

What does a PA do?

A physician assistant’s responsibilities are comprehensive, and can include any of the following (depending on their practice):

  • Perform routine patient check ups
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries
  • Interpret lab tests
  • Prescribe medications
  • Provide patient education
  • Assist the surgeon during surgery

The exact responsibilities of a PA vary based on the practice of their supervising physician. For example, all of our physician’s assistants deal with conditions related to the spine. The supervising physician works hand-in-hand with the PA to effectively diagnose and treat each patient.

Our exceptional PAs are Matt Hawkins and Jake Guth. Click on their names to read more about them. Matt and Jake are compassionate and knowledgeable physician’s assistants who provide the best possible care for each patient they work with. They are an invaluable asset to our care team.

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