Physician Assistant Week 2014

PA Week on www.npbusiness.orgIt’s PA Week and it’s time to celebrate and educate about my amazing colleagues.

While there are some differences between Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, there are plenty more similarities. It’s not uncommon for both to be working in the same office.  Both PAs and NPs can help reduce the shortage of healthcare providers in this country and consumers should have no fear in choosing one or the other.

Here are some facts about PAs from the American Academy of Physician Assistants:

There are 100,000 PAs in America who are nationally certified and licensed at the state level to practice medicine, and are authorized to prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico.

PAs can obtain medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, perform medical procedures like joint injections, counsel patients on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery, write prescriptions and make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals.

PAs are educated through intense, three-year, graduate-level programs that require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. As part of their education, PAs complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

To maintain their certification and licenses, PAs earn 100 hours of CME every two years and recertify through a national exam as medical generalists every 10 years.

Studies identify high-quality care with physician-PA teams, the quality of care provided by PAs is comparable to that of physicians, PAs enhance care coordination and that practices and institutions relying on PAs are more cost effective than those without PAs.

As a Nurse Practitioner, I’ve had the opportunity to experience PAs as preceptors, teachers and colleagues.  To my PA colleagues, may we continue to contribute to and advance healthcare as we make it more accessible to all. Here’s to you! Thank you for all you do yesterday, today and tomorrow!

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