National Physician Assistants Week

National PA Week is held every year from Oct. 6–12. OrthoCarolina employs more than 115 PAs, nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who serve an important role in our clinics and help to keep you healthy. We hope you will join us in celebrating our PAs this week.

Straight from our own Physician Assistants, here are 30 things you didn’t know about PAs:

  1. In most states, PAs are also licensed by the same medical boards that confer physician licenses.
  2. PAs can order advanced imaging (MRI, CT, Ultrasound).
  3. PAs can prescribe medication.
  4. PAs are "done with school" and will never "be a doctor".
  5. PAs are not “physician’s assistants” -- they are Physician Assistants.
  6. Physician Assistants are not "want-to-be" doctors. We choose the PA profession because we want to be PAs
  7. The PA profession began at Duke University; the first class of PAs graduated from Duke on October 6, 1967.
  8. PAs practice and prescribe medications in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
  9. A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.
  10. There is only a 3-month difference between the classroom academic component of a physician’s training and that of a PA.
  11. PAs receive a Bachelor’s degree prior to attending PA school: Most PAs will have 2 Bachelor’s degrees and 1 Master’s degree upon completion of their program.
  12. We go through approximately 8 years of post-high school education.
  13. PAs must pass a challenging Physician Assistant Medical Certification Exam prior to practicing, and must recertify every 6 years by passing a recertification exam and logging continued medical education each year.
  14. We have DEA and state medical licenses.
  15. Many PAs have worked as nurses, paramedics, athletic trainers, etc. prior to going to PA school.
  16. PAs can work in all medical specialties.
  17. PAs assist in surgery.
  18. PAs can switch between specialties as training is inclusive of all specialties.
  19. PAs go through residency-type rotations in most major specialties.
  20. The Board of Medicine, which also regulates doctors, regulates Physician Assistants.
  21. We can perform procedures including injections, fracture reduction, radiologic and cardiac procedures, casting and more.
  22. PAs can assess, diagnose and treat, so they must have as robust medical knowledge as a physician.
  23. PAs take a recertification exam every 6 years (soon to be every 10 years) called the PANRE.
  24. Physicians in other specialties will often consult PAs to obtain medical advice.
  25. Some PAs in specialties are trusted to help train and educate residents and fellows.
  26. PAs are ranked as one of the fastest-growing professions in America.
  27. US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of PA jobs will increase by 38% between 2008 and 2018.
  28. Over 95,000 certified PAs work 3.8 million hours and see 7 million patients every week. (Source: https://www.nccpa.net/Public)
  29. There are PAs that work for the U.S. Army and they play an important role in improving the overall quality of life for Soldiers and their families, including:
  • Serve as a primary source of medical advice in the absence of a physician
  • Supervise combat medics and perform as a medical section/platoon leader
  • Advise on medically-related matters pertinent to unit readiness for missions
  • Function as a medical staff officer at various levels
  • Serve as commander of companies, battalions, brigades, and medical treatment facilities
  • Serve as commissioned officers in US military
  1. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (the body that certifies PAs) has 14 Participating organizations:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American College of Physicians
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Federation of State Medical Boards
  • Physician Assistant Education Association
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

George Collins, Tony Connot, Kristina Donovan, Andy Hylton and Scot Rheinecker contributed to this list.

For more on National PA Week, visit AAPA.

Comments

October 22, 2019

Tony Connot has been my PA for many years. He is the best!
- Donna Yencer
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 22, 2019

We agree Donna. Thanks!

October 10, 2019

I recently saw, was scheduled for hip replacement and had a follow up with PA Erin which works with Dr. Masonis st the hip and knee center and she was amazing. Having a knee problem also she was able to give me an injection also for that. I would Highly recommend her for any hip or knee related issues.
- Laurie May
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 10, 2019

Thank you Laurie!

October 09, 2019

I have been treated by both Michael Scropeta PA and Steve Russo PA to get injections into my left knee to help postpone replacement. They are both GREAT & I am so grateful to both of them. Thank you!
- Monica Golden
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 09, 2019

Great to hear Monica, thank you.

October 09, 2019

Tyler Anderson has been so patient, full of information and helpful.
- Hallie H
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 09, 2019

We appreciate that Hallie.

October 08, 2019

I have seen Paul Coleman several times. I feel that his advice and treatment is professional. His knowledge and bedside manner goes beyond the usual provider. I am so thankful to be able to get in to see him quickly. Thank you, OrthoCarolina.
- W. Hatcher
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 09, 2019

Thank you!

October 08, 2019

Ryan Hollifield is the best
- Dian Stroupe
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Appreciate that Dian!

October 08, 2019

Bill Heisel is the reason I haven’t had one, if not two, knee replacements yet. He listens...he cares...he is the BEST!
- Michele Lowe
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thanks so much Michele.

October 08, 2019

Caitlyn Krusen and Emilie Baker are the best. They took good care of me after my knee replacement. Thanks for all you did to make me feel better.
- June Wooten
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thanks June

October 08, 2019

PA Brittany White was excellent in her treatment of my knee to allow me to continue to move until replacement surgery is done in February. She is awesome!
- Jeff Jarosz
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thank you Jeff!

October 08, 2019

Thank you for this article. I have often wondered what the difference was between the PA, Doctor and Nurse.
- Bonnie J Borst
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

We appreciate it Bonnie.

October 08, 2019

Very thankful for the talented and wise Bill Heisel. He has provided the greatest care over the last seven years. The best PA I know!
- Jane Mc
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thanks Jane!

October 08, 2019

Doctor Connors' PA Sal is great; I would recommend him to anyone with shoulder problems.
- Anthony Graceffa
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thanks Anthony!

October 08, 2019

Had both hips replaced by Dr. Ellison. Would not have been as perfect as it was without Scot Rheinecker and Matt Potts. These PA's are 100% amazing.
- Timothy Vaughn
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 08, 2019

Thank you Timothy!

October 07, 2015

On a recent visit, PA Eddie Davis diagnosed my hip pain me and gave me a cortisone injection. I would highly recommend him. He has a delightful personality in addition to being great as a PA.
- L. Jenco
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 04, 2019

Thank you L. Jenco

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