Physician Assistant Day, or PA Day, is a celebration of those who assist doctors in their work. This important event, begun by the American Academy of Physicians’ Assistants, aims to raise awareness of the PA profession, and inform people about healthy living.

Learn about Physician Assistant Day

Physician assistants are essential for the smooth running of hospitals and performing of healthcare. Many medical establishments are in need of more people to enter the profession, and one of the main aims of PA Day is to get this message across, encouraging people to consider assistance as a career.

It is important to recognize that there is a difference between physician assistants (PAs) and doctors assistants, although we should definitely pay tribute to them both. Both assistants play a role when it comes to patient care. However, physician assistants are deemed medical support professionals. This means that a doctor needs to supervise their work. However, this does not mean that they hover in the background all of the time!

There are a number of different things that they can do. Aside from ensuring the general smooth running of a practice, they can also diagnose illnesses and examine patients. They may even be able to put together treatment plans. However, these do typically need to be approved by a doctor. Physician assistants are not able to carry out surgeries, yet they may be able to provide a helping hand to the doctor while in the operating room. The amount of monitoring a physician will get will differ from organization to organization and state to state, or country to country! 

To give you an insight into the day-to-day duties of a physician assistant, let’s take a look at some of the different things they carry out. A physician assistant will participate or conduct in outreach programs, talking to groups about promoting wellness and disease management. In addition to this, they research the latest treatments to make sure that patient care is of a high standard, record and access patient’s progress, prescribe medicine, and counsel and educate patients and their families. They also give treatment, for example, immunizing patients and setting broken bones, diagnose a patient’s illness or injury, order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and x-rays, examine patients, and review or take patients’ medical histories. They do all of this in order to enhance the quality of care and expand the medical workforce. 

History of Physician Assistant Day

PA Day kicks off PA Week by celebrating PAs and the amazing work they do. The profession decided several years ago to shorten the name from physician assistant to PA. PAs practice and prescribe medication on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the uniformed services. Today there are more than 115,500 PAs in the U.S.

The PA profession is projected to grow 30 percent by 2024 to meet the needs of our aging population. PA Week is sponsored by the American Academy of PAs to call attention how PAs serve their patients.

In order to honor Physician Assistant Day and understand the history of the day, we need to understand the history of this profession. During the mid-60s, medical educators and providers realized that there was an increasing shortage of primary care physicians. In order to try to address this deficit, the first class of physician assistants was put together by the Medical Center at Duke University. 

The program went incredibly well, which caused it to be adopted at a federal level in the 70s. This marked the start of significant milestones and advancements in this field over the coming years. For example, the first HMO to hire physician assistants was Kaiser Permanente in 1970. The profession was then recognized by the American Medical Association in 1971. In 1982, there were 2,500 people that attended the annual conference. The first master’s degree for physician assistant education was awarded by Duke University in 1988. In 1993, the DA enabled registration of physician assistants so that they could prescribe controlled substances. Programmes relating to physician assistant careers then started to develop in other areas around the world. It was in 2005 that the first physician assistant programs were established in the United Kingdom.

How to celebrate Physician Assistant Day

One way to celebrate is by joining PAs on the Plaza outside the Today’s Show studio at Rockefeller Plaza. Other PAs are celebrating in different ways in their communities. Go to www.paweek.com

We would also recommend looking into the role of a physician’s assistant in further detail. If you’re looking for a job, this could be something that interests you. After all, becoming a physician’s assistant is very rewarding. A lot of people find that this is the sort of job that is more suited to their personalities. After all, a physician assistant and doctor may perform some of the same duties, however, a physician assistant has a bigger focus on the care of the patient. Also, they do not have to fret about bureaucracy or budgets, meaning that a bigger amount of their time is going to be consumed with the work that drew them to becoming a physician assistant in the first place. Also, if you prefer to be part of a team rather than being a leader, this will be a more suitable role for you.

You are also not going to need to spend as much time in the classroom as a doctor would. Doctors usually need to spend a minimum of four years studying to get their undergraduate degree from a school of medicine. They will then need to spend a further two years in order to attain their medical degree. After this, it can then take between three and seven years for new graduates to get their license to practice surgery or medicine. While becoming a physician assistant is not easy, it is going to take less time than this. You are usually going to need to complete a four-year degree, which is then followed by an accredited physician assistant program that lasts for 25 months. 

If that was not enough, physician assistants have great job prospects. They are in high demand, and so you are not going to struggle to find a career if you go down this route. Careers are also flexible as well. Once you have got your physician assistant license, you are going to have the qualifications that are required to work in any sort of medical specialty you wish. This means you can make the transition from oncology to obstetrics without going back into the classroom. 

Another way to celebrate Physician Assistant Day is to praise those that work in this role already. If you know anyone who works as a physician assistant, make sure that they are aware that you appreciate everything that they do. A simple “thank you” for all of their hard work can go a very long way. Even if you do not know anyone who works in this role, you can spread awareness of all of their efforts online, posting messages on social media or on your blog if you have one. After all, we cannot deny the important role that physician assistants play today!

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