What is a Physician Assistant?

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As physician assistants, we have the great privilege of working with a fantastic group of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals and staff. The primary goal is to provide the best orthopaedic care for you, the patient. While we enjoy working together as a team, there are occasionally some misconceptions about our role in the practice.

Physician assistants (or PA’s) are licensed medical professionals trained to examine, diagnose and treat medical problems. We order and interpret tests, perform procedures and prescribe medications. PA’s practice in every area of medicine from pediatrics to surgery, and in every medical setting, from operating rooms in hospitals to specialty clinics and community health centers.

EDUCATION

Following undergraduate education, most PA’s complete a master’s degree program that includes in-depth medical science courses. A few of these subjects include:

  • Anatomy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical diagnosis

Additionally, training includes more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. PA students commonly share classes, facilities and clinical rotations with medical students, and the curriculum is quite similar to a physician’s education.

After graduation, training continues with the completion of 100 hours of continuing medical education. These hours must be renewed every two years. We must also pass a rigorous recertification exam every 10 years to maintain national certification, as well as retain a license to practice in our states.

WORKING TOGETHER

We believe in teamwork, so our PA’s work alongside the orthopaedic surgeons to enhance the coordination and quality of care provided to each patient. Each physician is paired with a PA who is familiar with the doctor’s specialty. This team practice approach optimizes patient care through all treatment phases.

As part of your appointment, you may be evaluated by a physician assistant. He or she will assist the surgeon in planning your diagnostics and treatment. Our PA’s are highly skilled and perform multiple duties as part of their role. We apply splints and casts, counsel patients and perform office procedures like injections and post-operative care. We also assist in the operating room and conduct rounds for inpatient procedures.

You have the option of scheduling an appointment with a physician assistant when making a decision about your care. Often, this alternative allows you the opportunity to be evaluated and treated quickly and conveniently.

In addition to our clinical duties, we enjoy volunteering as educators, giving lectures to PA students and University of Nebraska – Omaha Athletic Training students, as well as providing clinical rotation training to incoming PA students. We also provide sports medicine coverage with the physicians to local high school and collegiate teams.

We strive to provide highly specialized care to our patients with one of the region’s most trusted teams of physicians and support personnel. Together, we use all our resources to ensure an optimal patient experience.

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What is a Physician Assistant?

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