The role of the certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) is to medically manage individuals in collaboration with a supervising Physician.
WHAT DOES THE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT DO?
- assesses patients by performing a comprehensive history, physical examination, and appropriate diagnostic testing
- can prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and Guam
- collaborates with other health care providers to assess patient's needs and uses community resources to plan appropriate care
- formulates a treatment plan to manage the patient's condition with the goal of optimizing treatment
- provides treatment of acute and chronic conditions using diagnostic skills
- performs interventions such as aspiration and injection of joints
- provides therapeutic intervention commensurate with their level of education, specialization, and experience and in accordance with state law
- makes recommendations in order to maintain or improve the patient's independence
- may be involved in program planning, validation and medical research
- may order and interpret x-rays
- may order physical or occupational therapy depending upon the patient's needs
- perform and interpret musculoskeletal ultrasound, and other diagnostic tests
- performs or orders diagnostic tests, interprets results, and develops a diagnosis
- prescribes, orders and implements interventions and treatments in accordance with state law
- serves as a health information resource for patients and families
- serves as an advocate for the patient and family within the health care facility, community and the legislative arena
WHERE DOES A PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT WORK?
The Physician Assistant provides care in a variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, managed care practices, rehabilitation units, and long-term care facilities. Practice varies according to the demands of the work setting.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DOES A CERTIFIED PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT HAVE?
- The majority of Physician Assistants complete a graduate level program leading to a Master's degree. The Masters programs usually include approximately 12 months of didactic courses, and an average of 2000 hours of supervised clinical practice prepare PAs to be effective providers of patient care.
- A smaller number of Physician Assistants complete a formal entry-level program leading to a Bachelor's degree.
- Physician Assistants maintain state licensure, and are certified on a national basis by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). In order to maintain their certification, the Physician Assistant must complete 100 of continuing medical education every two years, with at least 20 hours of those hours earned through Performance-Improvement (PI-CME). Beyond that, the certified physician assistant must pass a re-certification examination every 10 years.
RHEUMATOLOGISTS AND RHEUMATOLOGY HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
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Learn more about rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals.
TO FIND A RHEUMATOLOGIST OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
For a listing of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals in your area, click here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For additional information, contact the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals at 2200 Lake Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30319 or (404) 633-3777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated May 2013 ARHP
fact sheet is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a
qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnoses and
treatment of a medical or health condition.
© 2013 American College of Rheumatology