Is a Physician Assistant?
Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed professionals who, with physician supervision, practice medicine. They receive a broad general medical/surgical education, which prepares them to work in virtually any specialty and practice setting. PAs are licensed to practice and authorized to prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories with the exception of Puerto Rico.
Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in a medical model designed to complement physician training. PA students are taught, as are medical students, to diagnose and treat problems.
Education consists of classroom and laboratory instruction in the basic medical and behavioral sciences (such as anatomy & dissection, pharmacology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis), followed by clinical rotations such as internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and behavioral medicine.
A PA's education does not stop after graduation; all PAs are required to take ongoing continuing medical education classes and be retested on their clinical knowledge and skills on a regular basis in order to maintain certification.
For more information on Physician Assistants please visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) website at www.aapa.org.