Physician Assistant – Everything You Want to Know About It


One of the most sought-after professions in
the USA, a physician assistant is an integral part of most of the hospitals.
They have the license to examine and diagnose patients suffering from illnesses
and suggest treatment. Most of the times they work under a physician but they
also enjoy autonomy to a great extent. They find employment in physician
offices, hospitals and clinics.


What does a Physician Assistant Do?

A physician assistant performs a number of
duties that includes talking to patients and taking their detailed medical
histories. They conduct a physical examination of the patients, prescribe
diagnostic test and analyze their outcomes. They also prescribe medicine,
document information about the patients and provide counselling to the patients
towards effective prevention. In addition, they keep in touch with patients for
their overall treatment.

Skills Required to Become a Physician

Apart from the education which is the
prerequisite, a physician assistant requires a number of soft skills. Some of
the major skills are as follows.


A physician assistant must be compassionate
as they have to understand the patients’ condition and counsel him and his
family members regarding the illness so that the patient’s conditions can be
better managed.

Good Listening Skills

A physician assistant should be a great
listener and should pay attention to every detail that a patient provides. Good
listening skills are important because they need to send it to a doctor so that
a better plan of treatment can be decided. Not paying proper attention to
patients affect treatment strategy for patients.


A physician assistant should be humble.
They should be humble enough to accept their limitation. They should know what
kind of illnesses comes under their purview and what not. Not knowing their
limits would be playing with the health of the patients.


Most of the patients have limited health
literacy and there are times when they are even not able to communicate their
health issues and understand the reports. Here a physician with a good
communication skill is better positioned to communicate the health issues and
medication correctly to the patients. 
They are good at educating their patients so that the medicine can be
better administered and desired goals can be obtained.

Team Player

A physician assistant works in a team along
with the doctor and other team members so they need to be a great team player
and be better at collaborating with other team members. Such a quality helps
them know about the expectation from team members so that better results can be

Welcoming Feedback 

Even a good physician assistant should not
be complacent with what they have. They should welcome feedback from patients
and concerned authorities. Not only they should welcome feedback but also work
on that. The overall goal is to provide better patients care and emerge as a
better professional.

How to Become a Physician Assistant?

Becoming a physician assistant is a hard
and time taking process. But once you become one the time and hard work done
ultimately pays off. Here we suggest ways to become a physician assistant.

Bachelor Degree and Pr-requisite

Enrolling for a physician practitioner
course requires a bachelor degree and meeting prerequisites. Usually, a
bachelor degree takes four years to complete but some aspiring physician
assistant does some extra years so that they can meet the prerequisites. There
are some subjects that are essential for PA program but not essential for a
bachelor degree programs so students work some extra years to meet the

Healthcare and Patient Care Experience

An aspiring physician assistant needs to
get a requisite number of work hours in healthcare and patient care experience.
In a healthcare experience (HCE) a patient is not directly linked to the
patient which is possible with patient care experience (PCE). Some PA aspirants
get these experiences just after their bachelor degree program while some
others take the gap of a year or more to gather this experience. The candidates
need to have 1000 hours of health care experience or patient care experience.


Once you have done your bachelors and
gathered required work experience it is time to apply. But before you apply you
need to have certain documents ready. These documents are transcript for
graduate or post-graduate degree, letter of recommendation, list of HCE/PCE and
personal statement.

Preparing for Interview

Once the application form is submitted, you
should wait for the interview. You will soon start getting mail for PA’s
interview. But before you start getting the email and calls you should use the
intervening period for preparing for the interview. You should search for the
different interview guides available on the internet. There are various forums
where the candidates express their opinion and experiences regarding the
interview. They should also join these forums. As different PA schools have
different interview styles so a PA aspirant must know the interview style of
the schools they are going to be interviewed for.

Learning the Skills

Once you get enrolled in a physician
assistant school, it is time to study and learn the ropes. Studying for PA
takes 23-27 months of life. But these efforts are worth it. There are times
when you feel very low and you will feel like quitting. But don’t do it. Just
keep working hard and stay focused and in all probability, you will complete
it. If you face any problem you should consult your teachers and they will
guide you to complete the course.

Qualifying PANCE

Once you have completed the Physician
Assistant program you are ready to take the PANCE (the Physician Assistant
National Certifying Exam). The examination contains a total of 300
questions.  There are five sections and
each section carries 60 marks. The total time allocated for the examination is
300 minutes. The results come within a week. You have the option to appear for
the examination again if you flunk it. Once you clear the exam you can look for
the job opportunities.

Why Become a Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant is a lucrative career
option. This career is much in demand due to various reasons. Good salary,
great learning opportunities and improved career prospects are some of the
major reasons behind attractions towards this career. Let us discuss them one
by one.

Great Scope

A physician assistant enjoys a great scope
of work. They work for different medical setting and specialities. Be it a
medical set up, a specialist or a big hospital; in all probability, they can
find employment in all kinds of medical setups. Dermatology, pathology,
emergency medicine and cardiothoracic surgery are some of the major
specialities where physician assistants are high in demand

Improved work-life balance

Among other things, improved work-life
balance is one of the major things behind the popularity of physician assistant
as a profession. A PA can enjoy a family life after their fixed work hours
because they have to remain available on call around the clock. There are some
specialities that may require longer availability but they can enjoy their
weekly offs without worrying about the work.

Good Compensation

Salary is one of the most important factors
that attract aspirants towards a particular career. As per data available on
the, the median salary of a physician assistant in America was
$108,610 in 2018.  The 25 percent
top-paid physician assistants got $127,220 a year, while the salary of
lowest-paid 25 per cent PA’s was $90,150 in the same year.

Short Duration

You need a short duration to become a
physician assistant as compared to a doctor. 
Most of the physician assistant courses take anything between 23 to 28
months. Not to mention you have to complete a bachelor program. It saves your
lots of time in comparison to joining a medical school to become a doctor where
you have to spend four years in medical school, followed by at least three years
in internship and residency and in some cases, it is followed by a fellowship.
A PA program allows you to be able to see the patients in not more than two and
half years after completing your degree.

Job Satisfaction

Among other things, a career as a physician
assistant is also well known for the job satisfaction. As you are trained to
see the actual cases, you will be able to serve people in distress. Several
charities and missions worldwide give you opportunities to work for the people
affected with calamities.

Improving Interpersonal Relations

By working as a physician assistant, you
will be working with people. It will help you build great interpersonal
relation. They will rely on you for their health-related issues and share the
issues they are facing.  It may not be a
part of your job but certainly brings a human approach to your work.

Team Work

By working as a physician assistant, you
will be a better team player. A physician assistant works in a team with
doctors and other support staff that imparts you with skills like decision
making and collaboration. As a PA you will be examining patients, prescribing
tests, referring them to a specialist doctor and if you need support, there is
a team to fall back on.

Stay Up to Date

Medical education needs updating and
physician assistant is no exception.  A
physician assistant needs to get 100 hours of continuing medical education
(CME) every two years. This feature let you know the best practices in medicine
that enrich your knowledge.

Major Specializations for Physician

When it comes to specializations for a
physician assistant, they have a number of choices, right from family practice
to dermatology and critical care to neurology. Every specialization is
important in its own right. Here we give a description of major specialization
for physician assistant.

Pediatrics Physician Assistant

As we all know that pediatrics is a
discipline of medicine that deals with diseases related to infant, children and
adolescents. A pediatric physician assistant oversees the patients in a
pediatric unit where they take a medical history, examine patients, refers to a
diagnostic test, see the reports and assist in surgery. Physician assistants
who specialize in pediatrics often find employment in specialty care units of
medical hospitals, specialty child care units and private pediatric clinics.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician

A physician assistant in obstetrics and gynecology
performs a number of responsibilities that include preparing annual paps,
examining breast and pelvic, guiding patients with family planning, dealing
with menstrual and menopausal issues and offering care in the pre-natal and
post- natal period.

Cardiothoracic/Vascular Surgery (CV) Physician

A cardiothoracic vascular surgery physician
assistant helps with preoperative and postoperative procedures besides being an
integral team member for invasive surgical procedures. They work as the first
assistant in pediatric and adult cardiac surgery cases. Most of the times such
a physician assistant works with a cardiothoracic doctor. To be a
cardiothoracic physician assistant an aspirant need to have a good sense of
judgement and analytical skills.

Dermatology Physician Assistant

Dermatology is one of the highest-paid
specializations for a physician assistant. 
Such a physician assistant works with a dermatologist to treat different
skin diseases. A dermatology PA take history, examine and diagnose patients,
suggest treatment and observes the improvement. They maintain patients records
and prescribe lab tests if the situation demands.  Such physician assistants find employment in
skin clinics, cosmetic clinics and trauma clinics.

Gastroenterology Physician Assistant

A gastroenterology PA performs an array of
activities that include illnesses that comes under gastroenterology and
hepatology. They take a history, prescribe tests, interpret the results of the
test and often maintain the medical records of the patients. They often do the
round in a hospital. They perform different types of tests depending upon the
medical setups.

Neurology Physician Assistant

A neurology physician assistant is much in
demand irrespective of the setting.  They
work with neurosurgeons and medical teams. They assist neurosurgeons in several
ways that include taking a medical history, examine patients, prescribe
different medical tests, interpret the test and even assists neurosurgeons in
operating rooms. Besides, they also work in their own capacity prescribing
medicines, ordering CT scans and MRIs and interpreting their results.

Family Medicine Physician Assistant

A family medicine physician assistant
provides healthcare to individuals and families. Such a physician is trained to
look after the health of individuals in different age groups. They provide
health solutions to both male and female in a family. They are trained to
provide diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic treatment. A physician assistant
in family medicine carries out a number of duties that include treating
illnesses, prescribing and interpreting tests, performing small surgeries,
making home visits and doing rounds in the hospitals. A physician assistant in
the family medicine finds employment in different medical settings.

Oncology Physician Assistant

An oncology physician assistant, as the
name suggests, deals with the treatment of cancer. As cancer treatment is an
elaborate process, a physician assistant looking after such patients requires
to have sufficient training. They work with senior doctors, surgeons, nurses
and other support staff to provide relief to cancer patients.

Orthopedic Physician Assistant

An orthopedic physician assistant works
under an orthopedic surgeon. Such a physician assistant performs small orthopedic
procedure.  An orthopedic physician
assistant takes history, prescribe tests and interpret them. Besides, they also
help an orthopedic surgeon in operation rooms.

Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant

An emergency medicine physician assistant
is entrusted with the task of providing assistance in emergency medical rooms.
Such a physician assistant takes a medical history, suggesting medication and
counselling the patients. If the condition deserves attention from a senior
doctor, he refers it to the right doctor.

Pathology Physician Assistant

A pathologist physician assistant works
under an experienced pathologist physician. Besides working on the specimen on
biopsies, they also work on forensic and hospital autopsies. Some of the major
areas for working of pathology assistant is testing tissue samples, doing
biopsies of body parts removed during surgery and conducting a postmortem.

Radiology Physician Assistant

A radiology physician assistant is a type
of physician assistant that practice radiology under the guidance of a licensed
radiologist. An RPA or radiology physician assistant needs to have a license
for practising. Such a practitioner has the license to use X-ray, CT scan and
MRI to diagnose the patients. An RPA must be detailed oriented in order to be
successful in this field.




























































































































































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