An Important Member of the Medical Team
National Physician Assistants Week, October 6-12, 2013
Physician Assistants (PAs) are vital members of the medical team, yet they are sometimes “invisible.” PAs are highly educated, licensed to practice medicine, and deserving of our respect and appreciation.
Chances are you or someone you love has been served by a PA during a visit to a primary care physician or hospital stay. Perhaps the PA took your vital signs and medical history and participated in your physical exam. What you may not have realized; however, is that PAs do so much more. They conduct physical exams, perform procedures, order diagnostic tests and treatments, interpret test results, diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, counsel on preventive health care, refer to specialists and can assist in surgery. They work in hospitals, clinics, and private medical practices and in administration and academia. Further, PAs may practice primary care within medical specialties according to the legal scope of practice within their jurisdiction.
PAs undergo extensive educational and clinical training prior to licensure. They study all systems of the human body, may complete residency training and can specialize in fields such as OB/GYN, emergency medicine, critical care, orthopedics, neurology, surgery, hospice and palliative care, and much more.
In the U.S., the profession is represented by the American Academy of Physician Assistants and all PAs must be graduated from a nationally-accredited program and pass the national certification exam. They adhere to strict educational guidelines and certification procedures. Most PA programs are at the master’s level. Professional licensure is regulated by individual state medical boards. Education and training typically involves 6-8 rigorous science-based years.
Heart ‘n Home celebrates PAs not just during the national recognition week, but every day, every time. PAs affirm the lives of everyone with whom they come in contact. PAs who practice hospice and palliative medicine bring unique skills and energy to our caregiving team. They affirm our lives every day, every time.
Please take a moment during National Physician Assistants Week to acknowledge these important members of the medical team. Stop by your doctor’s office or a care facility to personally thank a PA. Cookies would be nice, too… affirm the life of a PA… it’s likely that a PA has already affirmed yours.