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What is a Physician Assistant?

It’s not uncommon to encounter physician assistant when you go to a medical clinic. The same is true at an aesthetic medical practice such as Skin by Lovely. However, many patients don’t understand exactly what a physician assistant is and what their role is within a medical team. Get the facts below.

Educational Requirements of a Physician Assistant

To know what a physician assistant (PA) is, it’s important to understand what they are not. PAs are not nurses, aides, or medical assistants. Though their title might sound like they are not medical practitioners, they most certainly are.

A physician assistant is required to be nationally certified and maintain up-to-date state licenses to practice medicine. They can practice medicine on their own or as part of a team. They can also prescribe medications just like a doctor. Like doctors, physician assistants undergo rigorous training and examinations before they are allowed to take licensing and certification exams and treat patients.

To become a licensed and certified physician assistant, an individual must complete the following educational requirements:

  • Medical school prerequisite college courses
  • A three-year specialty program
  • Three additional years of health care training and clinical experience
  • 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in general medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, surgery, emergency medicine, internal medicine and a variety of other medical specialties
  • Continuing education seminars throughout their career for updated medical information
  • Regular re-testing to maintain credentials

What Do Physician Assistants Do?

Physician assistants can perform many of the same tasks as a doctor. In general, they can:

  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Develop and carry out a treatment plan
  • Diagnose illnesses
  • Prescribe medications
  • Order and explain medical tests
  • Assist in surgeries

PAs also do many other field-specific tasks. Much like a doctor, a physician assistant’s duties and role in your care depend on their specialty. Many PAs even work as primary care providers in general medical practices and specialty practices such as women’s health.

What is the Role of a Physician Assistant in an Aesthetic Medical Practice?

Above all, the PA’s role is to provide the same level of care and attention you would expect from an attending physician. Physicians often have extremely busy days and cannot always take unlimited time with each patient. This is where a physician assistant can step in and really get to know a patient. Because they work closely with you as a team, you are able to get better, more personalized care.

Meet Our Physician Assistants at Skin by Lovely

At Skin by Lovely, we are a close-knit team of providers. Like our other providers, our PAs are compassionate and skilled health care providers. Whether you visit us in Santa Monica or Portland, Ore., you can be sure the talented and friendly team at Skin by Lovely will help guide you to the best, most beautiful version of yourself. Contact us today for a consultation.

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