A physician assistant (PA) is a health professional licensed by the state to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. Working in partnership with a physician, a PA performs physical exams, diagnoses and treats illnesses, orders and interprets lab tests, sutures wounds, and provides preventive healthcare counseling. In Georgia, they have the authority to prescribe medications.
Physician assistants attend a four year college. Most students obtain a bachelors degree in arts or science. The length of a PA program following the completion of college is about two-thirds of that for a MD student. They attend core classes and rotations in a hospital setting and clinical areas training as a generalist in medicine.
Physician assistants are licensed by the state in which they reside and practice. They are required to complete one hundred continuing education hours every two year cycle. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants provides recertification testing every six years to ensure a core competency of medical/surgical knowledge.
For further information visit the AAPA website at www.aapa.org .