A physician assistant or “PA” is a nationally certified and state licensed medical professional. Physician assistants practice medicine on a team under the supervision of physicians and surgeons.
Physician assistants focus on preventing and treating illness. They practice in a wide variety of services and specialties, under the supervision of a physician, such as emergency medicine, cardiology, primary practice, obstetrics and gynecology, critical care, orthopedics, neurology and many more. Their scope of practice varies by state licensing and healthcare setting, but their work may include physical exams, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, performing procedures, healthcare counseling and prescribing medicines. In some settings, physician assistants may also assist in surgery.
The PA’s are a valued member of the healthcare team today and as the future of healthcare expands. The demand and employment of physician assistants is expected to grow 27% by the year 2016. This is due to many factors such as expanding health care industry and cost concerns and an aging baby boomer population.