8 Facts About Physician Assistants

Did you know that 93% of patients view physician assistants as trusted healthcare providers? The other 7% just need to learn more about physician assistants. Here are a few facts about physician assistants to help you better understand the PA profession.

Not a physician’s assistant

Physician assistants are highly educated and highly qualified medical professionals. Physician assistants are not assistants to physicians.

They are nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine, and diagnose and treat illnesses. PAs often serve as a patient’s primary healthcare provider for patients.

The PA profession is more than 50 years old

Dr. Eugene Stead founded the first Physician Assistant training program in 1965 at Duke University. The physician assistant profession was established in 1967 with the first graduating class from Stead’s program.

Master’s level education

Most PA programs require a bachelor’s degree and experience in healthcare. The average PA student has 4 years of health-related experience as well as a bachelor’s degree. Programs typically last 27 months, and include more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

Most programs are associated with colleges of medicine and result in a master’s degree. All PA programs are required to award a master’s degree by 2020.

It’s a popular profession

As of 2017, there are more than 123,000 PAs in the United States. Also in 2017, the PA profession was the fifth fastest growing job in America according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PAs help more people get better healthcare

Physician assistants provide greater access to healthcare, and improve patient health outcomes. PAs have more than 400 million patient interactions every year.

According to a 2014 Harris Poll, 91% of patients said PAs improve healthcare outcomes. 92% of patients say that having a PA makes it easier to get a medical appointment.

Physician assistants promote wellness

While PAs provide treatment, they also emphasize wellness and preventive care through counseling and patient education.

They work in many different settings

Physician assistants practice in hospitals, urgent care, schools, clinics, outpatient offices, and every healthcare setting. They work together with physicians and healthcare teams to provide the best possible healthcare for patients.

PAs practice medicine in all specialties including primary care, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatric, surgical subspecialties.

National PA Week takes place each October

We celebrate National Physician Assistants Week every year from October 6th to October 12th. Take the time to show your appreciation for the PAs in your life!

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