What is a Physician Assistant?
The term of physician assistant consists in describing the healthcare professional who mainly is the part of a team and has the right to practice medicine by being licensed in this area. Their occupation is to treat and prevent illnesses and any other injuries, by giving the necessary medical services that are expanded in the field of medicine on numerous areas such as they put diagnose and treat human illnesses, or they interpret tests, prescribe medication and so on. Their aid is provided under the directions of other healthcare professionals, mainly physicians or surgeons.
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Job Description of a Physician Assistant
The main job description of a PA or a Physician Assistant is to perform various procedures, assist in surgeries when required, to make patients’ physical examination, but also to counsel and educate patients. Also, their job involves not only interpreting laboratory tests as mentioned earlier but also to order diagnostic tests like electrocardiograms, x-rays. They are also required to make rounds in healthcare institutions like hospitals and nursing homes.
Being parts of a team, the physicians and the physician assistants by definition work together and their practice is made under the supervision of physicians. This does not mean that at every step a physician is there to supervise the way a physician assistant does his job in providing the necessary care to a patient. It rather means that you will have a supervisor, in the person of a physician.
Their training and practice is very similar to that of a physician so that means that they are on the same page, in many diagnostics and therapeutic procedures like injections and immunization. Their relation consists of delegate job duties and within those duties given by the physician, a PA makes decisions on how to apply the correct patient care.
Among the physician assistant duties are: to obtain and study the medical histories of the patients, maintain a clean environment by following all the regulations and safety rules. They also have a level of continuous education by maintaining the necessary knowledge of professional and technical parts, as well as the development of the team staff by providing them with information or the educational opportunities that appear or the experience growth required.
Their contribution to the team is a valuable asset and their effort that is maintained gives huge results when needed. They are the healthcare professionals who protect the patients and the other employees by exposing the infection control regulations and protocols.
How to become a Physician Assistant?
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In order to become a great physician assistant, if you’ve decided that this is a career path for you, then here are some steps to follow, which will lead you in this direction. Usually, as a Physician Assistant, you are required to have a certificate and a license to practice in the medical field.
But first, before enrolling into one of the training programs, use your time to document yourself on this job. This will give you a clear perspective if this is what you want to do or not. You can easily speak with the students who are enrolled in the physician assistant program. That way you’ll find out more information about the educational process or you can look up for sites and forums of discussions that are always of great help when understanding the application process.
In this medical field what also counts is the experience that you gain during the entire process, because the training (especially the practical part) in the physician assistant programs is a huge bonus for those applicants who succeed in gaining a lot of medical knowledge. Dealing with the patient care for two years is more than sufficient for developing certain skills and a lot of experience in this area and expertise in the physician assistant field.
Going up unto the bachelor’s degree in healthcare science will want you to keep in mind that other courses and classes are on the list of requirements for admission, such as anatomy and physiology, whereas in the first year mathematics, biology, English and other courses are all parts of a standard model that can be found in the system.
The best part is to make sure that you’ve investigated all the possibilities, starting with different website pages about the program that you want to follow, where you can find out more about the requirements that are applicable in the present, and other details.
Then the following step is to contact them and to express the desire to apply and to send you a packet by email, which has the purpose to inform you. It will help a lot if you could find a graduate of the same program that you want to enroll into.
For the application process, you have the opportunity to open an account with the CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants), this service being the most encountered of all, because a lot of programs will ask you to apply for an account here. Not all the programs have the same requirements for applications, so there might also be some additional requirements.
A separate and different application might be needed in other universities. For example, for the CASPA application, it would be wise to apply for it early because the completion process takes a long time. It will be of great aid if you could have all the educational and employment information in order, before you start and decide to apply.
Don’t forget about the recommendations that can be written by a doctor or a physician assistant or other healthcare professional, any professional who you’ve worked with. Regarding the CASPA application, try giving clear essay answers for the questions that you are asked. Use the proper grammatical expressions, but also try to make a great impression with your personal statement. Don’t forget that it’s not a shame to ask for help to improve it.
The PA programs are divided into two medical parts, which are combined, one involving classroom studies and the other involving the clinical instruction. The study is very intense and the length of an educational program can be at twenty six months.
The admission to the physician assistant schools is very competitive, because all the applicants have to finish a number of at least two years of courses in college that involve basic science and behavioral science. These courses must be completed before the Physician Assistant schools.
The education of a physician assistant includes courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, clinical laboratory science, medical ethics, and physiology and so on. A physician assistant is also required to complete more than 1,900 hours of clinical rotations in medical fields that include family and internal medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, surgery (the main aspects of it the general part), and even the emergency medicine and so on.
Work Environment and schedule
As a physician assistant, your area of work will be in the public and the private domain, such as hospitals, clinics physician offices, and many other healthcare facilities such as nursing homes, prisons, schools, as well as in the academic administration.
But their work also extends in the United States Department of State, where they appear to work as FSHP or with other words Foreign Service Health Practitioners, or in the army where they work as Medical Specialists Corps officers or in other fields like Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard and so on.
As in what the schedule of a physician assistant consists of, depending on each specialty and the area of expertise, the hours will vary. Also, another reason in which this variation appears is according to the settings. For example, if you work as a PA in a hospital, then are inclined to work more hours or in shifts while the ones working as PA in clinics have a work based on more hours, which are regular.
You can complete from 45 hours per week or even more, this depending on the specialty in which you are working and how much you are able to work.
Physician Assistant Salary
A Physician Assistant salary can be influenced a lot according to various factors that can be found in every job. The average salary for a Physician Assistant reaches at $88,540, but each region or state influences the economic flux of this job a lot.
The fluctuation in salary is found due to the numerous influences that appear, but you can easily find a suitable match for your job that will combine perfectly with your way of living and earning. But like in every other state, in the US there are the bottom employments, where the earnings are estimated to reach at $60,550 and the higher employments where the physician assistant job has an average in the salary of $120,130. This being taken into account, you can know that these estimations in the salaries include the 10% in the bottom and the top working jobs as physician assistants.
In this field, the growth for the next ten years or so is in continuous movement, because this job is very steady and has a great career overlook. In the last years, the number of jobs has grown as well as the salaries, due to the demanding from the population. The salary, as mentioned earlier, can be affected by a number of factors that have a powerful decision on the physician assistant salary.
One of the most powerful factors is the area or the city, in which you are located, and the environment which offers you the employment if it is a general field or one that includes a specialty area. Your needed help in this job from various patients will also influence (it will actually have a great impact) your salary as a physician assistant. This is because if you are working and you live in a city or a region where the demand for you is higher as a physician assistant, then your salary is great and is higher than in any other parts where the number of demanding is not so high.
There are also metropolitan areas in which the salary is really great and has a lot of demanding. For example, in Wisconsin, the average salary is of $139,750, while in Georgia is estimated at $120,050 and so on. You can see that in New York, especially in White Plains, it is part as a metropolitan area where the average salary is of $95,610.
But there are other states as well, in which the average salary as a physician assistant is not in the metropolitan area, but is very good with a high demand. For example in Southern West Virginia, the average salary is of $132,510.
The factors that appear and influence a higher salary are not the same that influence the job growth in a certain area of one state or another. Usually, the lowest paid salaries as a Physician Assistant are found in the rural parts of the US, but there are exceptions as well, such as North Carolina and West Virginia that reach at an average a salary that is estimated over the national average salary.
As in every metropolitan area, the lowest points can be found in the economic area. For example, taking Philadelphia, the average salary being in a metropolitan region reaches at $63,820, while in Boston the average salary is of $80,690.
Another factor that is of great influence is the type of institution or facility that you, as a Physician Assistant, work in. For example, if you work in a hospital, whether it is a public or private hospital, the average salary is of $89,550, while if you are working in the Physician Office, then the average salary is of $85,350.
Each physician assistant salary depends also according to each state, but you may also want to check first which is the best option for working in this field, because even if in one state there are many job places for Physician Assistants, this might mean a higher concentration that often leads to more competition and less demanding.
Physician Salary in Canada, Australia and UK
The physician assistant can also be compared with other countries such as Canada, Australia and UK that compared with the salary in the US have a level that is a little bit lower in the average of the income. For example, in Canada, the salary can be estimated at CAD $70,010, while in Australia an income estimated at AU$80,010 can be seen.
Physician Assistants, who are working in the UK, can rather expect a smaller income compared to those working in the US as physician assistants. The average salary in the UK reaches at almost £33,100, being the equivalent in the US of around $53,100, a good amount for an annual salary. This salary is a normal one in the UK in the field of those healthcare providers, who are working in the field of the medicine.
Conclusion on Physician Salary
The great benefit in this working field is that it allows you to advance on this ladder of career opportunity working as a physician assistant, bringing you not only to an average salary, but also to a growth in each year on this job and a great way to exceed your expectations in the medical field of physician assistant.
Due to the numerous factors that influence the payment, the physician assistant salary will increase because the population is always in need for these specialists.