Physician Assistant (PA)

What does Physician Assistant (PA) mean?

A physician assistant or PA is a professional healthcare worker who works under the direction of a physician and is allowed to perform a variety of healthcare services such as taking medical histories, making diagnosis, prescribing medications, assisting in surgery, counseling patients, performing minor procedures and examining and treating patients.

The physician assistant works autonomously, although they may be limited by their state's laws and supervised by the physician. Physician assistants undergo intensive and rigorous training, as well as classroom and laboratory training. Training can last as long as 25 months and can include supervised clinical rotations in a variety of medical and surgical specialties. National certification, previous health care experience, a college education and an additional 2 years of full-time study is needed. All states require physician assistants be licensed.

Physician assistants can expect to work full-time and can expect to make a median average income of $90,000. Physician assistants can be sued for medical malpractice, like other medical professionals. To file a claim against a PA the claimant must prove their actions were negligent, they breached their duty of care and their negligence or inaction led to the claimant's injury or loss.

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