A physician associate or PA is a healthcare professional who works alongside the doctors and the other allied healthcare practitioners within a hospital setting to provide medical care to our patients. They work autonomously but with appropriate support and collaboration from their clinical supervisors.
A PA will perform some of the hospital tasks you may already be familiar with currently being done by any one of our doctors, such as taking medical histories, examining patients and contributing to the overall management plan of the patient through the above described support leading to diagnosis and treatment. With training some PAs will perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
While being involved with these decisions, they aren’t able to currently prescribe medication or request imaging that involves radiation (e.g. chest x-ray or CT scan).
They add to the overall workforce number allowing opportunities for Doctors improve their training and further develop their own skills.
As physician associates gain experience within their speciality over prolonged periods of time, they are able to pass on the knowledge and skills that come with this extended experience to the other healthcare practitioners newer to these areas, overall adding value which ultimately improves patient care.