A physician assistant job description should be clearly understood prior to enrolling on a program of education that would like to certification in this field. Though not the same as the role of a doctor, a PA has skills that are essential and in demand in the healthcare industry. Usually a PA would work alongside a senior healthcare specialist to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive medical services.
It is the supervising doctor or physician as well as local state law that dictate what the role of a PA would involve. A physician assistant is usually given responsibilities relating to the checking of a patient’s medical history, diagnosing and interpreting x-rays and medical tests, and examining patients. They can also be asked to treat various minor injuries that a patient may have such as giving a splint or suture.
Also a PA is expected to record and analyze the progress of a patient alongside giving counseling and suggesting when therapy is necessary. Whether or not a physician assistant can prescribe medicine would depend upon the state where they are employed. They can also be required to order special equipment and medical supplies and oversee the work of healthcare technicians.
In certain rural locations, PAs can take on the role as the primary health care provider if the main doctor or physician is only able to be present in the clinic or other establishment for a short duration of time. In such cases the physician assistant would be expected to coordinate with the senior consultant via phone or online. It is important not to confuse the duties of a PA with that of a medical assistant. Medical assistants are expected to perform a greater number of clerical duties and cannot offer diagnosis and treatment by themselves.
The work schedule of PAs will depend upon the institution were they are employed as well as the supervising physicians expectations. Those employed in hospitals may be required to work night shifts and be on call at all times, whereas if working in a regular clinic the hours should be no more than forty per week.
There is the option of training to become a PA in a specific field such as emergency care or microbiology. In such occupations the duties would be different than if working as a general physician assistant. It is essential to be clear on the physician assistant job description prior to applying.