Physician assistants provide a special link between the medical profession and the people they serve. They offer professionalism with a personal touch. As a member of a health care team, PAs bring their unique expertise as caring professionals to the medical field. Combining clinical proficiency with compassion, they serve the needs of individuals from all walks of life.
What is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant is a licensed health care professional who practices medicine with the supervision of a physician. A PA provides a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by a doctor, and often spends extra time counseling patients on ways to stay healthy. PAs perform physical exams, diagnose illnesses, develop and carry out treatment plans, order and interpret diagnostic tests, suture wounds, assist in surgery, provide preventive health counseling and write prescriptions.
Where Can a Physician Assistant Work?
PAs are employed in every state in the country and several overseas locations, with the majority practicing in primary care medicine, such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Approximately one third of all PAs work in solo or group practice settings, and another third work in hospitals. PAs can be found practicing in communities of any size, and are sometimes the primary source of health care for rural populations.
In 2009 the mean annual income for PAs was $93,105 and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth in PA employment by 38 percent between 2008 and 2018. The PA profession was also ranked by Money.CNN.com as #2 on the list of the top 100 jobs in America in 2010.
The AAPA web site supplies facts at a glance concerning the current state of the PA profession.