What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

Physician Assistants Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.

Typically, Physician Assistants perform these tasks every day:

    Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.

    Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physician.

    Interpret diagnostic test results for deviations from normal.

    Obtain, compile, and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.

    Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.

    Examine patients to obtain information about their physical condition.

    Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.

    Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.

    Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.

Most days, Physician Assistants perform these tasks:

    Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.

    Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management.

    Order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment.

Other tasks that Physician Assistants perform include:

Other Questions about Physician Assistants

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What Tools and Technologies Are Physician Assistants Using to Do Their Job?

X ray machines

Walking braces



Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS

Medical condition coding software

MEDITECH software

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What Subjects Should I Study to Become a Physician Assistant?
No areas of knowledge found
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What Skills Should a Physician Assistant Have?

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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How Much Experience is Needed to Become a Physician Assistant?

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 50% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 30% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

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