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FAQs about Physician Assistants
Below are some commonly asked questions about the jobs physician assistants do.
Do I need to go to med school to become a physician assistant? You do need medical training to be a Physician Assistant, or a PA, but it is not nearly as in depth as the amount of training expected of doctors. PA's need to have Master's degree from an accredited program, but they are not required to get a PhD. They also need to have a license to practice medicine, and ideally should have some healthcare-related experience.
What type of work do physician assistants do? It depends on where they work. Surgical PA's help surgeons with operations, including closing incisions and stitching them shut. A general PA working in a doctor's office assists the doctor by talking to the patients, doing routine physical exams, and providing treatments. Their work is more similar to what nurses do than medical assistants, and many PA's were once registered nurses.
Is it cheaper to see a physician assistant instead of the doctor? In most cases, the cost is exactly the same because PA's do not run their own clinics, nor do they see patients on their own. If you are sick, then you need to go see a licensed doctor who has the additional years of medical expertise that a PA does not. While you may be meeting with a PA during your doctor visit, rest assured that the doctor is the one having the final say in any treatment being prescribed to you. PA's do the routine work for the physician, and the doctor depends on their help.
Doctors who run their own offices or work in hospitals often need physician assistants to help them care for patients and take care of the practice. There are many different doctor's assistants that you can choose from. In fact, you can often find companies on the Internet and in your directory that will place professionals with an office or hospital. With so many options to choose from, some people do not know how to determine which companies are best for them. By following these guidelines, you should be able to tell which medical staffing agency has the assistants that are right for you. When you first contact the company, ask them how long they have been in the health care staffing business. Those with several years of experience in the medical field should have connections with more medical professionals that can work with emergency care, surgeons, dermatologists, registered nurse practitioners, and a pharmacy. Ask them if their licensed PAs, and RNs have the degrees and primary training that they need from schools with good medicine and science programs. Depending on the level of experience and training that the licensed medical assistants have, clinics might have to pay them fairly high wages. When you contact the agency, ask them how much their physician's assistants require for salary or hourly wages. When you find a health care agency that has the personnel you need, be sure to write down their contact info so that you can contact them easily in the future.