Physician Assistant - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Physician Assistant

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Physician Assistant Job Description

 

Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed medical providers who diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases, including prescribing medication. Most PAs work in hospitals, clinics and physician offices under the supervision of a licensed physician. PAs are able to treat patients with autonomy within the framework of their relationship with the physician.

Physician assistant is an attractive job that offers the flexibility to transition into different areas of medicine without needing additional education and training beyond the initial 27 month average length of a PA program.

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Responsibilities

 

A physician assistant is a licensed medical provider that can diagnose and treat illness and disease. They can also prescribe medication for their patients. Due to their advanced education in general medical practices and procedures, which is modeled after physician’s educational experiences, PAs are given significant autonomy in treating patients.

PAs work as an integral part of a medical team. They have their own patients for which they make medical decisions and provide a wide range of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative health maintenance services. Some of the specific services a PA can provide include:

  • Taking a patient’s medical history

  • Performing physical exams

  • Ordering laboratory tests and interpreting the results

  • Diagnosing and prescribing treatments for illness

  • Counseling patients

  • Assisting in surgery

  • Setting fractures

When working in a primary care setting, PAs are allowed to provide almost all of the clinical services that a physician can provide. This includes the performance of physical exams, diagnosing and treatment of recognized diseases. They can also prescribe necessary medications to their patients.

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Skills

 

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Communication

Must convey information and be able to acquire info from others effectively. Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Perception

Knowing why people act as they do and determine the best treatment options for them.

Complex Problem Solving

Be able to identify and solve complex problems by using knowledge and information you gather.

Coordination

Work with other healthcare professionals, mainly your supervising physician, to coordinate care and react to their actions. 

Monitoring

Be able to assess your patient's progress and your treatment path. Determine if there are actions to take to fix problems or improve methods.

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Working Conditions

 

Physician assistants make it possible for thousands of people to access quality health care. The PAs play a vital role in increasing patient access to care for rural and other underserved segments of the population. PAs may be the only health providers in rural and underserved areas.

PAs may work in specialties outside of the primary care setting. The professional physician assistant is trained to be flexible, adapting to work with physicians in primary care as well as medical and surgical specialties, as well as sub-specialties should the need arise.

A physician assistant's primary focus is patient care but may also undertake educational, administrative and research work. In a primary care setting, a PA can provide almost all of the clinical services a physician does. The physician assistant works under a written agreement of collaboration with a licensed physician. Under this agreement, the PA can make clinical decisions regarding patient diagnostics and treatment.

The physician’s assistant is responsible for providing a wide range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services. The physician and the PA relationship is a staple of the physician assistant profession and is designed to enhance the availability and delivery of high-quality health care, especially to areas that are traditionally underserved.

The physical environment in which physician assistants work is usually a comfortable, well-lighted environment. If the PA is employed in a surgical position, standing for long periods of time and a great deal of walking may be required.

Work schedules will vary according to the setting in which the PA is practicing, such as a surgical suite or outpatient center. Schedules may also vary depending on the work routine of the collaborating physician. A typical work week may include rotations through weekend shifts, nights, and on-call scheduling and early morning hospital rounds to assess patient progress.

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
02.23.2018
VCU Health System's Acute Pain Management Team is seeking a full time Physician Assistant. The Pain Management Physician Assistant will assist the health care team in the care of patient with complex pain conditions throughout the continuum....
02.23.2018
VCU Health System's Orthopedics is seeking a Full time Physician Assistant to provide medical and/or surgical care and treatment to a specific patient population under the supervision of physician(s). Provides diagnostic, therapeutic and/or...
02.23.2018
VCU Health System's Plastic Surgery Division is seeking a full time Physician Assistant to provide medical and/or surgical care and treatment to a specific patient population under the supervision of physician(s). This position will assist the...
02.23.2018
VCU Health System's Surgery - Transplant is seeking a full time experienced adult and pediatric Physician Assistant to help provide care within the Hume-Lee Transplant Center's inpatient service, ICU service, and outpatient service....
02.23.2018
Purpose and Scope: To enhance the image of Virginia Hospital Center. Patient Care Services by ensuring that a successful, viable program is maintained at all times allowing for maximum productivity. The Physician Assistant is to function...
02.23.2018
Master's Degree Physician Assistant Opportunity - Brookneal, VA Centra Medical Group Brookneal, is seeking a Physician Assistant to join it's growing practice. Position would be working in a rural primary care practice that focuses on...
02.23.2018
VCU Health System's is seeking a full-time Physician Assistant for the Division of Acute Care Surgical services which is the regions primary provider of advanced trauma and critical care services. PA responsibilities will include....evaluate...
11.16.2017
Perform direct patient care including diagnostic and therapeutic services with physician supervision. Within the Physician Assistant (PA)/Physician relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and services provided. Assist...
02.23.2018
Master's Degree PA Opportunity - Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine - Lynchburg, VA Centra Medical Group, based in beautiful Lynchburg, VA, has an outstanding opportunity for an energetic and talented Physician Assistant to join our UHMS...
02.23.2018
The Physician Assistant (PA) in the Surgery Clinic is a key member of the patient care team. The PA must possess broad knowledge of the clinical specialty area where they provide health care services. This individual will interact effectively...
02.23.2018
Master's Degree PA Opportunity - Centra Gretna Medical Center - Gretna, VA Centra Medical Group is seeking a Physician Assistant to work at our newly opened Centra Gretna Medical Center in charming Gretna, VA. Position requirements include a...
02.23.2018
- Licensure Required The Physician Assistant performs tasks and procedures delegated by the Palliative Care or referring Physician within their scope of practice; performs complete, detailed and accurate histories; reviews patient records to...
02.23.2018
The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center is seeking to add a Cardiothoracic P.A. to our dynamic program of 6 cardiac surgeons and 4 P.A.'s. We perform a full range of cardiothoracic procedures...
02.23.2018
The Physician Assistant provides health care services to individuals, families and communities. The PA is both an independent and collaborative health care provider who works independently with a physician preceptor. The primary emphasis of the...
12.14.2017
This position is responsible, within the legal limitations, for assisting the physician staff of the Department in the provision of medical services to patients. Performs initial evaluations, coordinates treatment plans and monitors progress,...
  1. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Acute Pain Management Team is seeking a full time Physician Assistant. The Pain Management Physician Assistant will assist the health care team in the care of patient with complex pain conditions throughout the continuum....
  2. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Orthopedics is seeking a Full time Physician Assistant to provide medical and/or surgical care and treatment to a specific patient population under the supervision of physician(s). Provides diagnostic, therapeutic and/or...
  3. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Plastic Surgery Division is seeking a full time Physician Assistant to provide medical and/or surgical care and treatment to a specific patient population under the supervision of physician(s). This position will assist the...
  4. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Surgery - Transplant is seeking a full time experienced adult and pediatric Physician Assistant to help provide care within the Hume-Lee Transplant Center's inpatient service, ICU service, and outpatient service....
  5. Physician Assistant Arlington, VA Virginia Hospital Center
    Purpose and Scope: To enhance the image of Virginia Hospital Center. Patient Care Services by ensuring that a successful, viable program is maintained at all times allowing for maximum productivity. The Physician Assistant is to function...
  6. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT Lynchburg, VA Centra Health
    Master's Degree Physician Assistant Opportunity - Brookneal, VA Centra Medical Group Brookneal, is seeking a Physician Assistant to join it's growing practice. Position would be working in a rural primary care practice that focuses on...
  7. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's is seeking a full-time Physician Assistant for the Division of Acute Care Surgical services which is the regions primary provider of advanced trauma and critical care services. PA responsibilities will include....evaluate...
  8. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    Perform direct patient care including diagnostic and therapeutic services with physician supervision. Within the Physician Assistant (PA)/Physician relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and services provided. Assist...
  9. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT Lynchburg, VA Centra Health
    Master's Degree PA Opportunity - Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine - Lynchburg, VA Centra Medical Group, based in beautiful Lynchburg, VA, has an outstanding opportunity for an energetic and talented Physician Assistant to join our UHMS...
  10. Physician Assistant Shreveport, LA University Health System
    The Physician Assistant (PA) in the Surgery Clinic is a key member of the patient care team. The PA must possess broad knowledge of the clinical specialty area where they provide health care services. This individual will interact effectively...
  11. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT Lynchburg, VA Centra Health
    Master's Degree PA Opportunity - Centra Gretna Medical Center - Gretna, VA Centra Medical Group is seeking a Physician Assistant to work at our newly opened Centra Gretna Medical Center in charming Gretna, VA. Position requirements include a...
  12. Physician Assistant Montgomery, AL Baptist Health
    - Licensure Required The Physician Assistant performs tasks and procedures delegated by the Palliative Care or referring Physician within their scope of practice; performs complete, detailed and accurate histories; reviews patient records to...
  13. Physician Assistant Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center is seeking to add a Cardiothoracic P.A. to our dynamic program of 6 cardiac surgeons and 4 P.A.'s. We perform a full range of cardiothoracic procedures...
  14. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT Greenville, SC St. Francis Hospital
    The Physician Assistant provides health care services to individuals, families and communities. The PA is both an independent and collaborative health care provider who works independently with a physician preceptor. The primary emphasis of the...
  15. Physician Assistant Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    This position is responsible, within the legal limitations, for assisting the physician staff of the Department in the provision of medical services to patients. Performs initial evaluations, coordinates treatment plans and monitors progress,...