What is a Physician Assistant?

What are PAs?

Physician assistants are healthcare professionals who practice medicine in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This includes obtaining a patient’s medical history, performing physical exams, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging, diagnosing, and treating. PAs also perform minor surgeries and procedures. Physician assistants practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor. What this essentially means is that PAs practice medicine within the scope of their supervising physician. Many PAs work independently. The supervising physician(s) will be available to the PA should he or she have questions or concerns regarding patient care. This may be a doctor who works alongside the PA in the office or hospital setting, or it may even be somebody who works off site who is available by phone or email.


Why I like being a PA

I like being a PA because I am constantly learning and evolving. Continuing education is crucial outside of PA school. I like the fact that I can consult with one of my supervising physicians if there is something I am not sure about. I love the fact that I can impact my patients’ lives in such a direct manner. I see patients when they are sick and I help them feel better. I see patients when they are healthy and I can help them avoid chronic illnesses. Just maintaining a healthy weight, an active lifestyle, and a balanced diet can do wonders for overall health.

Another reason I like the PA profession is the FLEXIBILITY. As a PA one can switch specialties, no problem! You can work in the ER for a few years, then maybe do dermatology or general sugery. As a medical doctor one would have to do a residency which can be years of additional training. 

Interested in becoming a PA? Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook or leave a comment below with any questions!