Even though we hear a lot about doctors there is not as much information available concerning the Physician Assistant Profession. Do you know the difference between the two. If you have been wondering what the answer to that question is, here is some information that will help you out.
Doctors invest many years into the education and training it takes to become proficient in diagnosing the ills of patients, determining the appropriate treatment options, and prescribing medicine.
Physician Assistants on the other hand are not required to obtain that much education and training but are more than just a regular nurse. Since they are a step above a registered nurse, they are allowed to work along with doctors to perform some of their duties. They can diagnose diseases, discuss treatment plans with their patients and other duties that have until recent years been the sole domain of licensed physicians.
The main difference between regular physicians and the Physician Assistant Profession is in the level of education each is required to get before they are given their license or certificate to practice. Doctors attend medical school for 8 to 10 years and after that they are required to complete a residency with a hospital where they get to practice the skills they have learned under close supervision. It is in the hospital setting that they are allowed to fully practice the skills they have learned. When this is completed they must determine whether they want to continue working as part of hospital staff or prefer to start their own practice or go some other route.
Physician Assistants do not have to attend medical school for the same length of time and are often able to complete their training within a couple of years after getting their Bachelor’s degree in nursing. The Physician Assistant Profession allows those pursuing a career in this field to perform much the same duties as a physician but without the autonomy that comes with it. That means that they must work closely with a licensed physician, and the doctor carries some responsibility for the work they complete.
Even though the work performance closely mirrors that of a medical doctor, they still must be supervised and answer to the doctor for all of their actions. Individuals working in the Physician Assistant Profession perform many duties that mirror those of other physicians such as suturing wounds, examining patients and writing prescriptions. They are even given the legal right to write prescriptions, and all of this is under the auspices of the physician in charge. This is much like the glorified nurse that was spoken of previously but with many more freedoms.
Most Physician Assistants work in the area of primary care. That means that they can be seen in fields such as pediatrics, internal medicine, as well as family practice. With them taking up more of the responsibility for providing care to patients it leaves doctors free to work in more critical areas of health care and patients with more personalized care.