What Do Physician Assistants Do?
Physicians rely on dependable assistants to help them carry out their essential duties, and patients are extremely grateful for their expertise. As an assistant, you will be carrying out many of the same responsibilities as a physician, but you will be doing it under the careful supervision of a professional. Some of the more basic tasks you will be accountable for include counselling patients, conducting physicals and offering treatments. With a growing demand for physicians in the country, there is going to be an equal demand for talented assistants. Growth of 38% is expected to take place every year for the next 10 years. That means there are going to be around 4,890 job openings annually, meaning there is plenty of growth to allow you to get your foot in the door if you are just starting out.
Physician Assistants Skills and Abilities
As a physician assistant, you should possess most of the same knowledge as a physician, which includes having a background in medicine. This will allow you to play an active role in treating diseases and prescribing medicine. You will also likely be performing a fair amount of therapy, so being familiar with the principles of diagnosing and rehabilitating serious issues can be crucial in the field. You will need to convey potentially complex information to patients who may not understand ordinarily, so communication skills are vital. You also need to possess problem sensitivity and know when there is a problem that requires correction.
Physician Assistants Duties
You will be dealing with patients on a daily basis, so you will be expected to talk with them to gather more information about their condition. The physician may rely on you to come up with a diagnosis and what your opinion is on the best course of action to take. Your physician may also depend on you to record and compile data relevant to a patient’s treatment plan so that adjustment can be made if needed. Under supervision, you may also be able to take X-rays and perform other tests. Throughout the course of a treatment plan, you will need to speak with the patient to inform them about what actions should be taken at home and what changes need to be made to his or her lifestyle. Other responsibilities can include:
- Ordering medical equipment.
- Administering immunizations.
- Assisting a practitioner throughout surgery.
- Prescribing therapies and medications.
- Conducting clinical tests.
Physician Assistants Tools and Technology
Inputting data into a computer system will need to be done through spreadsheet software, and you should also be familiar with video conferencing and medical software. However, you definitely need to know how to use various pieces of medical equipment, which includes:
- Surgical clamps
- Head traction supplies
- Hypodermic needles
Education and Training for Physician Assistants
Most professionals will need at least a Master’s degree in order to acquire a position, but it is also feasible to get a job with only a Bachelor’s. It is vitally important that you take instructional programs in becoming a physician assistant so that you can enter the field already knowing the basics.
Physician Assistants Salary
Naturally, assistants do not make as much as physicians, but a decent amount still stands to be gained. The median yearly wage for this type of work is $95,800. Some individuals are able to make more than that, and the top tenth percentile makes $134,700 a year.
Physician Assistants Jobs by Geography
The highest employment levels for this line of work can be found in New York, California and Texas. Various healthcare facilities depend on physician assistants, so whether your state is one of the best ones to be in or if you are interested in possibly moving, you have a lot of options to consider.