Physician Assistants
Search for a Physician Assistant
& Verify Credentials
through the specific state licensing board:
What is a Physician Assistant?
from the U.S. Department of Labor
Physician assistants (PAs) provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services under the supervision of physicians. They should not be confused with medical assistants, who perform routine clinical and clerical tasks. Working as members of the healthcare team, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x rays, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications. They also treat minor injuries, by suturing, splinting, and casting. PAs record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. In almost all States, physician assistants may prescribe medications. PAs also may have managerial duties. Some order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment and may supervise technicians and assistants.

Physician assistants work under the supervision of a physician. However, PAs may be the principal care providers in rural or inner city clinics, where a physician is present for only 1 or 2 days each week. In such cases, the PA confers with the supervising physician and other medical professionals as needed or as required by law. PAs also may make house calls or go to hospitals and nursing care facilities to check on patients, after which they report back to the physician.

The duties of physician assistants are determined by the supervising physician and by State law. Many PAs work in primary care specialties, such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Others specialty areas include general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PAs specializing in surgery provide preoperative and postoperative care and may work as first or second assistants during major surgery.

Licensure of a Physician Assistant
from the U.S. Department of Labor

The typical physician assistant program lasts about 2 years and requires at least 2 years of college and some healthcare experience for admission. Most applicants to physician assistant programs hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree.


~Make BAMI.us your home page and gateway to the World Wide Web~
This is an up-to-date educational source for patient education. Health care providers may feel free to print out copies for their patient's use. Please note that content may not be copied for resale or other commercial use such as for web sites. The content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.   Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. 

Home | About Us | Advertise | Contact Us |Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2015 Bay Area Medical Information (BAMI.us)™ All Rights Reserved

Google |Yahoo |  MSN |  AOL |  Netscape |  Earthlink |  Dogpile |  All the Web | AltaVista