An Overview: The Responsibilities of a Physician Assistant

Are you interested in entering the field of medicine, but you don’t necessarily want to pursue a career as a doctor or a nurse? Many forget that there is the option of becoming a physician assistant, whose licensing falls in-between a doctor and a nurse. Required to work under a licensed doctor and unable to perform surgeries on patients, the duties of a physician assistant tend to include diagnosing illnesses and injuries, writing prescriptions, and performing examinations.

If you are a physician assistant, then you are able to perform a variety of tasks, such as conducting physical examinations on patients, ordering diagnostic tests, giving treatments like immunization, and resetting broken bones. In addition, their duties can also include prescribing medicine to patients and promoting health through outreach programs.

Due to the tasks of a physician assistant appearing similar to the functions of a doctor, it is crucial to note the differences between the two careers. Physician assistants are required to work under a trained medical doctor, therefore they are only allowed to assist in surgery, while medical doctors are specifically trained to be able to perform surgeries on patients. What this means is that even though the physician assistant is considered to be the primary-care provider for a patient, they are still required to work in affiliation with a licensed medical doctor.

To put it simply, the main difference between a physician assistant and a doctor is the extent of their medical training. Both jobs require a bachelor’s degree and further postgraduate education, however, a doctor is required to attend medical school, a one-year residency, and years of speciality training. Physician assistants, on the contrary, are only required to go through two years of postgraduate medical training.

Able to work in the same environment as a doctor with far less training required, physician assistants work in hospitals, family practices, outpatient services, and psychiatric services. If you are interested in working in the field of medicine, but you don’t want to go through several years of medical training, than a physician assistant is an attractive option!

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