Master of Physician Assistant Studies

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who is trained and licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. The physician is not required to be physically present but should be available for consultation if needed via telephone, internet, site visits or other means. Hence PAs work autonomously and are usually the only healthcare provider in medically under-served areas. A Physician Assistant is concerned with preventing, maintaining, and treating human illness and injury by providing a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by a physician. Physician Assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, give medical orders and write prescriptions. Physician associates/assistants work in hospitals, clinics, and other types of health facilities, and exercise autonomy in medical decision making as determined by their supervising physician. A Masters degree and internship precede obtaining a license to practice as a Physician Assistant. Renewal of licensure is necessary ever few years, varying by state. They are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training, rather than in the nursing model as nurse practitioners are. Physician associates/assistants are not to be confused with medical assistants, who perform administrative and simple clinical tasks with limited postsecondary education under the direct supervision of physicians and other health professionals, or nursing assistants. In the United States, the profession is represented by the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Similar providers have different titles in other countries such as clinical officers in Africa, assistant medical officers in Malaysia, Medical Care Practitioners in the UK, Assistant Doctors in China and Feldsher countries of the former Soviet Union.

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