Stapleton Pediatrics Blog

Your Questions Answered! What is a PA?

By Robyn Smith, PA-C

Many of our patients have asked about the role of physician assistants and how they differ from doctors and nurses. These are good questions and important to consider when visiting your pediatrician.
So what IS a physician assistant?
According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA):
A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.
PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.
The purpose of a PA is to care for patients as part of a collaborative medical team. The PA role offers increased access to health care for patients, which in turn supports and assists physicians. Physician assistant duties include taking medical histories, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, developing treatment plans, counseling on preventive care, assisting in surgery, writing prescriptions, and making rounds in hospitals and other health care facilities. Most students have a bachelor’s degree and about three years of healthcare experience before entering an accredited PA program. Most programs are three years and award master’s degrees.
At Stapleton Pediatrics, the PAs play an integral role in our medical care team approach. Our care teams consist of a pediatrician and one mid-level provider (PA or nurse practitioner). Our families typically see one care team on regular visits, so that they become more familiar and comfortable with a small number of pediatric providers. While our patients always have the choice of which provider to see, the care team approach allows us to provide the highest quality and best continuity of care.

I knew I wanted to be a health care provider shortly after the birth of my twin daughters in 1998. After much research, I decided that a career as a physician assistant would be a good fit for me and for my family. As it turns out, it is a great fit - I completely love my job as a PA with Stapleton Peds! I am privileged to provide medical care for patients, along with education and support for their families during this very special and important phase of their lives.
For more information about physician assistants, please visit Questions about our care teams? Just contact us! We’d love to hear from you.
Posted: 8/17/2015 6:48:12 AM by | with 1 comments

Louisa Willett
We love you Robyn and are so thankful for the great care you have provided for our children!
8/18/2015 7:44:27 PM

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