Physician Assistants

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Also known as:  Anesthesiologist Assistant, Certified Physician's Assistant, Family Practice Physician Assistant, Orthopaedic Physician Assistant, Orthopedic Physician Assistant, Pediatric Physician Assistant, Radiology Practitioner Assistant, Surgical Physician Assistant

ABOUT PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
The occupation of physician assistant originated in the 1960s when army medics received additional education enabling them to help physicians with routine medical tasks. Since that time, employment opportunities for PAs, as they're called, have expanded rapidly. That's because physician assistants h ...
ave the training to take medical histories, give physicals, order and interpret lab tests, and stitch up minor injuries - in addition to other routine non-diagnostic medical duties.

In most states, physician assistants are also permitted to prescribe medication. PA's are always supervised by a physician. But by relieving doctors of routine tasks, they help deliver high-quality health care in a cost-effective manner. And, thanks to the internet and "tele-medicine" which make it easy tpo consult with a supervising physician, PAs can bring medical services to rural and inner city clinics unable to attract a full-time doctor.

Forty-nine states require PAs to be graduates of an accredited physician assistant education program. And, although certificates and associate degrees are offered, most PAs have at least a bachelor's degree. Becoming a physician's assistant isn't easy. But it can be one of the most satisfying of all medical occupations.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physician.
Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management.
Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.
Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.
Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.
Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
Examine patients to obtain information about their physical condition.
Interpret diagnostic test results for deviations from normal.
Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
TOP SKILLS Expand
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
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