A physician assistant gives instructions to a patient

The PA profession has been named by several top media outlets, including Forbes and USA Today, as the most promising job in America. The demand for PAs increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to the healthcare search firm Merritt Hawkins.

Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly qualified health professionals who are educated as medical providers. PAs are certified and licensed to practice medicine as part of the healthcare team. PAs gather and evaluate medical data and participate in the clinical decision making, diagnosis, and therapeutic management. Tasks a PA perform are:

  • Take medical histories
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Write Prescriptions
  • Counsel patients on preventative care
  • Assist in surgery

A PA exercises considerable autonomy in medical decision making, but the supervising physician and state law determine the scope of the PA’s practice. PAs deliver healthcare to diverse patients of all ages and a variety of medical settings.

For more information about the PA profession, visit AAPA.

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