Physician Assistants Career Video
Description: 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.
Interested in a medical career with more advanced training than a registered nurse, but less than a doctor? Consider becoming a physician assistant, or PA. Under a physician's supervision, PAs examine and diagnose patients' injuries or illnesses, treat and educate patients, and prescribe medicine. A PA does many of the same tasks a doctor does, from setting broken bones, to ordering x rays and blood tests. Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and surgery-where they assist physicians during procedures. Like other medical professionals, PAs spend significant time reviewing patient records and documenting patients' progress. Most physician assistants work in healthcare clinics and hospitals. Spending many hours each day on their feet to make rounds and examine patients, the work can be physically demanding. Most PAs work full time, and may work nights, holidays, and weekends. Some are required to work on-call shifts, ready to respond to patient needs at any time. They may make house calls or visit nursing homes to treat patients. A master's degree and license are required to enter the field. PAs bring healing and help to patients, while continuously learning from the skilled physicians in their midst, and from the patients who depend on their skills.