Which health care profession will help make sure the millions of patients newly insured under the Affordable Care Act are treated? Help the nation cope with an aging patient population? Promote teamwork and preventive care? Help a physician’s practice see as many patients as possible? Assist in keeping medical costs as affordable as possible? Offers one of the most highly-rated health care careers?
Forbes magazine rated physician assistant (PA) the best master’s degree for job potential and one of the best programs in the country is at the UNT Health Science Center. More than 98 percent of UNTHSC Physician Assistant Studies graduates passed their national certification exam on their first try in the last five years. That’s 4 percent higher than the national average.
So what is a physician assistant?
“Physician assistants are licensed medical professionals trained under the same educational model as a physician,´ said Hank Lemke, DHSc, PA-C, Chair of Physician Assistant Studies. “They perform many of the same tasks that a physician does, including taking medical histories and performing physical exams, treating illness, ordering tests, and prescribing medications. Physician assistants work with physicians as members of the health care team.”
An important part of the health care system since the 1960s, PAs will be needed even more in the future as millions of patients gain medical insurance for the first time under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Not only will PAs help physicians care for more patients, their training prepares them to work in a collaborative way that makes them uniquely suited for the Patient Centered Medical Homes encouraged under the ACA.
PA students anticipate immense rewards from the career.
Said PAS Student Ryan English: “I chose to be a PA because I wanted to be educated in the medical model with exceptional hands-on clinical training. I wanted a career that lets me tangibly help people through diagnosis and intervention … that allows me to explore several specialties at different points in my career … and is part of a profession based on teamwork.
“We are able to help the patient, and we are able to help the health care system. More people are able to get care at a lower cost because of PAs.”
This is National Physician Assistant Week. To learn more about the profession, please visit: http://www.aapa.org/the_pa_profession/what_is_a_pa.aspx.