Being a Physician Assistant #1: Introduction

August 9, 2011 in PA Pals, Prospective PAs

PA with Pediatric Patient - Physician Assistant EDI’ve written this series of blog posts to help you learn more about the Physician Assistant profession.  But I must warn you… my goal is not to merely echo what you’ve heard before!  No, that kind of information can already be found in multiple other places, like here and here.  You know what I’m talking about.  It usually states something along the lines of the following:

Physician Assistants are highly skilled medical practitioners who work under the supervision of a physician.  They are able to carry out many of the same tasks of physicians including taking patient histories, performing physical exams, diagnosing conditions, and treating patients. Physician assistants are able to prescribe medications and perform procedures.  Although legally they require supervision, they exercise a high level of autonomy in patient care and medical decision-making. Physician assistants generally have a significant degree of health care experience prior to training and earn a Master’s degree upon fulfilling graduation requirements.


The above, although helpful to the person who has never heard of the physician assistant career, does not suffice.  No, it’s superficial and generic, especially for those researching the career to determine if it’s something they want to invest years of time and thousands of dollars to pursue.  It’s akin to being introduced to algebra, then asked if you would like to become a mathematician.  Many enjoy basic algebra, but when faced with trigonometry or calculus the mood shifts significantly.  The same applies with this profession. Many will read the description in the above paragraph and immediately fall in love with the possibility of becoming a Physician Assistant, yet not have a clue what the profession is all about!

My goal is to delve much deeper.  I want those reading these words to truly get a taste of what it means to be a physician assistant!  My suggestion for you?  Use this as an opportunity to reflect deeply about whether you should continue down the path.  If after reading through these posts you’re fired up about becoming a physician assistant, it’s something you should definitely pursue!  If, however, you’re really questioning the fit, it’s probably best that you turn your attention elsewhere.  One last thing — I will discuss everything from a primary care perspective.  Training physician assistants to practice in primary care is the major focus of every PA Program in the country save two, and is the most common practice specialty around.  So without further ado… :) go on to the next post… Being a Physician Assistant #2: Being Comfortable with the Human Body.

1 response to Being a Physician Assistant #1: Introduction

  1. Very well put. Reminds of the tip of the iceberg analogy. There is more to be seen underneath the surface.

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