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About Physician Assistants

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant is a medical provider who is nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine. They are authorized to prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories, with exception of Puerto Rico. They can obtain medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order tests, make rounds in hospitals, among many other medical services (ref. American Academy of Physician Assistants).

Why Were PAs Created?

According to the AAPA, PAs have been practicing for nearly 50 years. This profession was created to address a shortage of quality medical providers in the 1960s. Duke University established a program in 1965 that educated military corpsmen to practice medicine. The first PAs graduated from Duke University in 1967.

How Are PAs Educated?

A Physician Assistant:

  • Graduates from an accredited PA program
  • Educated to diagnose, treat, and prescribe in a graduate program similar to medical school
  • After a year of classroom study, PAs complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical rotations with an emphasis of primary care, physicians’ offices, and long-term facilities

The Quality of PAs?

Studies have shown that the quality of care provided by PAs is comparable to that of physicians, enhance care coordination, and practices relying on PAs are more cost-effective than those without PAs. (ref. American Academy of Physician Assistants)

About Nurse Practitioners

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners (NP) are clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management. NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care. (ref. American Association of Nurse Practitioners)

Why are NPs Important?

NPs are more than just health care providers. They are mentors, educators, and researchers. They ensure that the professional standards in the medical industry are maintained with their involvement in professional organizations and participation in health policy activities.

NPs can lower the overall cost of health care for patients by promoting smarter health and lifestyle choices.

The overall patient satisfaction of NPs is reported at an extremely high level.

NPs offer a high-quality, cost-effective, and patient-centered health care, which helps with the primary care shortage.

How Are NPs Educated?

A Nurse Practitioner:

  • Graduates fromĀ a master’s or doctoral degree program
  • Has advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation
  • Attends clinical courses that prepare them with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings
  • Undergoes rigorous national certification, periodic peer review, and clinical outcome evaluations
  • Licensed in all states and the District of Columbia

The NP Unique Approach

NPs are set apart from other health care providers with their unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person. They focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and education and counseling. NPs encourage patients in making health and lifestyle choices, which will lower the patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.


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