Monday, October 14, 2013

Time for some PA Advocacy!

If you are a frequent flyer to my blog, you already know I'm a Physician Assistant. Given the recent passing of national PA Week (October 6-12, 2013), lets take a moment to spread the word about PAs!

A PA (Physician Assistant) is a member of a medical care team supervised by a physician. Depending on what part of the country you are in, and what medical setting we are discussing, this medical team can include multiple physicians, PAs, nurses, medical assistants, or it can be a two person team consisting of just the physician and the PA.

The details of physician supervision varies by state, but overall the term generally means that physicians oversea and delegate the activities the PA performs and assumes some level of responsibility for the medical care provided by a PA. The physician need not always be in the same vicinity as the PA nor does the physician always dictate each and every medical decision a PA makes. PA's are an extension of physicians. We are educated in the same model as physicians and we are licensed by the state in which we practice to provide competent medical care. We must graduate from an accredited PA program and pass a national board examination in order to become licensed.

What I do:
I work for a major medical center in the department of hospital medicine (we take care of all the patients admitted to the hospital under general medicine, as opposed to a specialty such as neurology, surgery, cardiology). A day in my life begins with reviewing lab work, test results, vital signs, rounding on 12-16 patients with or without the physician present, make a medical plan with the physician and carrying out that medical plan whether it be ordering tests, prescribing medications, or calling specialty consultants. The physician may physically be on the floor with me for as little as 2 hours, or as many as 8-10 hours a day depending on their practicing style. When they are present, we work together coordinating patient care, tests, consults, and social needs with the social work team. When the physician is not present, I not only continue to carry out the plan discussed with the physician, but handle any issues that may come up in the meantime. However, I am never completely on my own and can always reach the physician on call by phone, pager, or text if needed.

For links to more information: Click here!

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