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Physician Assistants (PA’s) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. PA’s perform a wide range of medical duties, from basic primary care to high technology specialty procedures. PA’s provide healthcare services with supervision by physicians. PA’s are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician. Working as members of the healthcare team, they take medical histories, examine patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x-rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, or casting. PA’s record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. In most states physician assistants may prescribe medications. PA’s may also have managerial duties. Some order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment and may supervise technicians and assistants. Physician assistants always work with the supervision of a physician. However, PA’s may provide care in rural or inner city clinics where a physician is present for only 1 or 2 days each week, conferring with the supervising physician and other medical professionals as needed or required by law. PA’s may also make house calls or go to hospitals and nursing homes to check on patients and report back to the physician. The duties of physician assistants are determined by the supervising physician and by state law. Aspiring PA’s should investigate the laws and regulations in the states where they wish to practice. Many PA’s work in primary care areas such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Others work in specialty areas, such as general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PA’s specializing in surgery provide pre and post-operative care and may work as first or second assistants during major surgery.
Yes. Presently PA’s currently practice in the following areas:
Yes. In order to be a licensed PA in the state of Mississippi you will have to have a master's degree from a PA program.
Lengths of programs vary, but typically they are about 27-30 months. The PA program at Mississippi College is 30 months.
The first year most of the course work is basic sciences and the second year is clinical training.
Typical first year:
Typical second year
Specific courses will vary from school to school.
Since PA programs are Masters Degrees they will require you have to take the general portion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Typically the minimum score on the GRE is 1000 (verbal + quantitative).
That will vary depending on the PA program. Each program can give you that information if you call and ask.
Yes! Spend as much time as you can in a clinical setting. Volunteer at an emergency room. Spend time with a physician. Some programs have very high prerequisite patient contact hours before they will consider you. You need to check out the programs that you are interested in and find out their requirements. Get a part time job in a hospital; go spend time with a PA. There are PA’s working at the VA Medical Center in Jackson, MS.
All jurisdictions require physician assistants to pass the Physician Assistants National Certifying Examination, administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)—open to graduates of accredited PA educational programs. Only those successfully completing the examination may use the credential “Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).” In order to remain certified, PA’s must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every 2 years. Every 6 years, they must pass a recertification examination or complete an alternate program combining learning experiences and a take-home examination. Some PA ’s pursue additional education in order to practice in a specialty area such as surgery, neonatology, or emergency medicine. PA postgraduate residency training programs are available in areas such as internal medicine, rural primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, neonatology, and occupational medicine. Candidates must be graduates of an accredited program and be certified by the NCCPA.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the yearly median pay for physician assistants was $90,930 in 2012.
Where are the PA programs in the south?
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Mississippi College's physical address is 200 S. Capitol Street, Clinton, MS 39056.