Pa?

  1. What exactly is a PA?
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    About mistiffy

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 125; Likes: 14

    20 Comments

  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    pa can mean many things dependent upon usage.

    pa = physician assistants
    pa= pulmonary artery
    pa = state
    pa= patent artery
  4. by   Jennifer, RN
    Physician Assistent. They assess pts and treat them under the care of physicians. The can write prescriptions and do minor medical procedures like pelvic exams, laceration repairs, abcess lances, etc.... They make more money than RN (of course) but make comparative money to nurse practictioner. We have a quite a few in the ER I work at and they are indispensible in that setting.
  5. by   masstudent
    A PA is a physician assistant. PAs are often compared to nurse practioners (NP) since they are both mid-level providers and normally deal with routine cases. Almost any speciality has NPs/PAs. The PA degree is based on the medical/disease model while the NP degree is based on the nursing/healing model. The amount of oversite that a PA or NP needs or their ability to prescribe meds depends upon the state they are working in.
  6. by   dano
    Funny you should ask.

    I have a mentor who is a doctor and I was actually e-mailing him back and forth about becoming a PA. I think it's what I plan on doing for a post-grad degree. Here's what he sent me, and what you may find helpful whether it be understanding what a PA does or how they're different from your typical doctor:

    A PA can go into a general practice field and do well but they simply won't have the background experience and education that an internist will have and, as a result, may miss more complicated diagnoses and get a bad rep. Personally, I don't like seeing PA's for checkups because if I have a question that my experience can't answer, odds are they won't even be able to guess at an answer.

    PA's can also go into surgical fields and many work along side CT surgeons doing more of the basic work of harvesting vessels and closing the incisions when done. Here the PA's do a lot more than the residents are allowed to do.

    Our department is hiring a PA to handle a lot of the floor work and to assist us with doing tracheotomies and other routine procedures because we're just too swamped.

    Here is where it gets good. A CT surgeon spends a minimun of 7 years in residency after 4 years of med school and then puts in around 60-90 hrs/wk doing long cases and taking care of very sick people. He'll make $400,000 plus but the lifestyle is extremely demanding. Ultimately, he is responsible for the outcome of the surgery and if it goes bad he may get sued.

    By comparison, the PA is a master's equivalent. He works 40-60 hrs/wk cutting and sewing. He deals with little if any of the pre-op and post-op crap and never gets called at 3am because the patient is having problems. It's repetitive work but it's usually considered the fun stuff and it takes a highly skilled person to do it well. I'm guessing the salary is closer to the $120,000 range.
  7. by   Britt.MSN2b.Drexel'11
    I shadowed a PA this summer actually (He was in internal medicine.) One of the most intelligent people i have ever met. I am in nursing school right now, and i do get sick of people bad mouthing them saying they only ever "treat a disease." From my observations, a good PA is one that is able to treat not only the disease, but also the other physical and emotional effects. - The one i observed was wonderful at doing both. Trust me, I'm not trying to start anything. The vast majority of medical professionals are able to work together wonderfully for the benefit of the patient. As a nursing student however, I get sick of the nurses and professors who bad mouth PA's, when they themselves have no idea as to what the profession entails. JMHO.
  8. by   tiredfeetED
    PA's come from a wide variety of medical backgrounds (medics,RT,DC,emts,nurses) unlike FNPs who are RNs. School is varies in length from 18months to 33 months fulltime, with min 1 year of clinicals. Clinicals include Family practice/peds, surgery, inpatient, ED, OB, psych and elective. After completing a PA program one must pass the PANCE to obtain licensure to practice and Pass PANRE every 7 years to maintain certification. There are elective residencies in surgery (CT), ortho, emergency medicine but not required after graduation. PA's work in collaboration with their supervising Doctor while seeing their own pts. A PA can work in almost any setting, working ED one day and family practice the next. I hope this rough outline helps a little with the grand scope of PA practice.
  9. by   BSNtobe2009
    Even though NP is a career I am considering, I think NP's and PA's are over-used in hospitals. They should never be used as a replacement for a doctor, because the fact remains, they don't have the level of education and experience that an MD has. It may seem on the surface they are doing the same thing, but it's a huge difference in understanding the theory and the underlying reasons for procedures, and you just cannot match that against what an MD does through to obtain his or her level of expertise.

    I have no problem seeing an NP or a PA when I have a cold or something like that. I also think they make incredible supervisors in a hospital and be the right hand person of the attending physician under close direction.

    However, I once heard a surgeon given an interview that summed up the skill very efficiently...."A appendectomy isn't a difficult surgery, the organ is easy to find, easy to remove, I can teach almost anyone with no medical training how to do one in a couple of hours....but it would take me 10 years to teach you what to do if something goes wrong."

    I think it's very similar to the LPN/RN debate.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Even though NP is a career I am considering, I think NP's and PA's are over-used in hospitals. They should never be used as a replacement for a doctor, because the fact remains, they don't have the level of education and experience that an MD has. It may seem on the surface they are doing the same thing, but it's a huge difference in understanding the theory and the underlying reasons for procedures, and you just cannot match that against what an MD does through to obtain his or her level of expertise.

    I have no problem seeing an NP or a PA when I have a cold or something like that. I also think they make incredible supervisors in a hospital and be the right hand person of the attending physician under close direction.

    However, I once heard a surgeon given an interview that summed up the skill very efficiently...."A appendectomy isn't a difficult surgery, the organ is easy to find, easy to remove, I can teach almost anyone with no medical training how to do one in a couple of hours....but it would take me 10 years to teach you what to do if something goes wrong."

    I think it's very similar to the LPN/RN debate.
    I wonder why you would consider becoming an NP when you don't value NPs? Do you really think it takes 4 years of undergrad, years of RN experience, plus 2-3 years of NP grad school to learn how to treat colds? I think you underestimate NPs.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Nov 2, '06
  11. by   CoolhandHutch
    . I also think they make incredible supervisors in a hospital and be the right hand person of the attending physician under close direction.
    Most PA/NPs I know would cringe at your suggestion that they be under close direction. Most are "independent"- yes, I am aware of the technical aspects yet having worked closely with both they carry their own patient load (not just colds but creating chemo plans and following patients post CABG day 1) and have great outcomes.
  12. by   angel337
    Quote from multicollinarity
    I wonder why you would consider becoming an NP when you don't value NPs? Do you really think it takes 4 years of undergrad, years of RN experience, plus 2-3 years of NP grad school to learn how to treat colds? I think you underestimate NPs.
    same thing i was wondering. its a low blow to all the hard work they put in to be independent practitioner's.
  13. by   P_RN
    I may not take that number of years to treat a cold, BUT what if it ISN'T a cold? What if it is CHF?, or heaven forbid something like Anthrax? A delay in dx can be a disaster. Like the appendectomy, what if......
  14. by   CoolhandHutch
    Your are kidding, right? Anthrax? Why not throw in Ebola or the Hantavirus...

    And, again, most of the mid-level providers I have the opportunity to work with could make a differential diagnosis between a cold and CHF.

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