Why become a physician assistant? Find out from a guy with a beard and cool posters. Spoiler alert: there's a dolphin!
Key Points in their order of appearance:
First and foremost it is important to understand that physician assistant is the greatest profession known to humankind!
What do you do? Follow the doctor along all day? Why don't you just go to medical school?
The name is confusing I get it. Physician assistants work under the supervision of a physician or some fancy legal mumbo jumbo called respondeat superior that means physician assistants can do most and, in some states, almost everything a doctor can do but the doctor is ultimately responsible for the actions of the physician assistant.
They're doctors, they're not doctors, what does a PA even do?
PAs do just about everything a doctor does, including giving medical interviews and performing high "Kuality" physical exams:
Making diagnoses, ordering and interpreting tests and prescribing medications (warning coffee may not be covered by many insurance providers).
PAs also assist in surgeries and use penlights (refer to the video for an example of correct penlight usage time 2:38).
So do PAs only work in hospitals? Or what?
You can find PAs working in just about any healthcare setting and in just about any specialty. The majority work in primary care and many work in rural or inner city areas helping out the medically underserved.
I am already a "fancy" medical professional what does the PA career have to offer me?
The physician assistant career started in 1965 when there was an influx of people coming back from the Vietnam War who had a lot of medical training. At the same time there was a critical need for more primary care providers in the United States. So the physician assistant career was designed for people who already have a great deal of medical experience. That way they can become providers quicker and get out and help people much sooner.
As a "fancy pants" medical provider you might be interested in the core competencies that the physician assistant profession has defined for themselves to make sure we get the best patient care.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants defines its core competencies as follows:
- Medical Knowledge
- Interpersonal & Communication Skills
- Patient Care
- Practice-based Learning & Improvement
- Systems-based Practice
For more information visit aapa.org.
I am just not buying the whole "greatest career known to humankind". What kind of hat-wearing beard-having man would say something like that getting my hopes up?
The bureau of labor statistics predicts that between 2012 and 2022 there will be a 38% growth in the PA profession, that's much higher than average and I read that in this "fancy pants" book. This is going to keep going up because doctors are leaving areas where PAs tend to specialize such as primary care. Not to mention the median annual salary for physician assistants is over $90,000.
PAs also report very high levels of job satisfaction, much higher than most other careers so it's a good job.
So how do I do this? I'm in college now what can I expect if I apply to PA school?
The best thing you can do if you want to go to PA school is find out about the programs you are interested in. Comb their websites see what their prerequisites are - do they require prior healthcare experience. Hint - They probably do.
It's a good idea to become an EMT of maybe a medical assistant
Then, you will have to go to a school that is accredited by the ARC-PA.
Most accredited programs last 2-3 years and bestow a master's degree upon completion. PA school education is intense!
The first year is called the didactic year and you will take courses on everything from pathophysiology to giving patient exams to completing recruiting videos during your ample spear time. Then, you will go onto the clinical year where you will go to rotations in various fields of medicine then you will sit for the certification exam called the PANCE.
PANCE stands for "Physician Assistant National Certification Exam" it's not the things you wear so you don't get arrested.
Pass the PANCE and you will be a PA but you have to recertify every 10 years.
There you have it, why the PA profession is the greatest career known to humankind spoken by a hat wearing beard having man... Who also happens to be a PA student.
What do you think? Is the PA profession the greatest career known to humankind? If you have an opinion feel free to share it in the comments section.
My hat goes off to Mike West for this hilarious and brilliantly informative video. You rock!