Many people think that medical assistants are also known as physician assistant. Although medical assistant work very closely with the physicians but they cannot be judged as physician’s assistants. Medical assistant works both on clinical and administrative sides; a medical assistant can start training with high school diploma, but on the other hand with a physician’s assistant you need more education and experience. They will be examining the patients and also asking for the lab tests. They will also check the patients X-rays and prescribing the medication accordingly, a physician’s assistant also monitors the minor injuries and treats them right away. PAs are also responsible for ordering the medical instruments and they also supervise the medical assistants by coordination and assisting them with day today tasks.
PAs usually work in a standard care programs like paediatrics, family care, and in general medicine. They work in comfortable surroundings but sometime during checks-up and with surgeons they have to stand for the long time.
If you want to become a medical PA, the requirements or the training programs are different but mostly some work experience and a college degree is required, it is recommended to all PAs to attend accredited programs for training. There are 2 years and 4 years programs offered by allied health schools, medical colleges and hospitals. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant has accredited about 142 education programs and about 80% were offered for the master degree. 21 for the bachelor’s degree program, 5 for certificate level and 3 for associate degree. These programs also include some subjects like human anatomy, clinical pharmacology, biochemistry, clinical medicine, pathology, medical ethics and physical diagnosis.
After training all medical PAs have to pass the license exam, in order to start a legalized practice as Physician assistants. In order to obtain a license they must sit and pass the exam for a license called Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination and this is administrated by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Only those candidates can appear in the exams who have graduated an accredited PA education programs. Successful candidates will be titled as “Certified Physician Assistant”. One the certificates is issued to the candidate in order to remain certified, candidate has to complete 100 hours of education in 2 years. To renew the certification they must have to appear in the certification exam after every 6 years.
After certification, PAs can start their practice under supervision of the physicians; however they should have the ability of decision making, bedside manner, and should be emotionally stable. Assistant Physicians face many uncooperative patients and human sufferings; sometime they may also face the heavy work load. They will be working for 40 hours a week as well, but since they work with the physician so they will be scheduled accordingly. PAs working in the hospital also work on the weekend in rotating shifts. They usually earn a lot starting from $51,360 which goes up to $110,240. However you need to prove your skills in the beginning in order to expect a good return from hospital management.