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My Pathway to Becoming a Physician Assistant

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Kammira Holley

on 18 December 2012

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Transcript of My Pathway to Becoming a Physician Assistant

By: Kammira Holley My Pathway to becoming a Physician Assistant My First Step: Go To College Because most applicants to Physician Assistant education programs already have a bachelor’s degree and some healthcare-related work experience (Occupational Outlook Handbook). I felt it would be best for me to obtain my bachelor’s degree as well upon high school graduation. OR Biology Registered Nursing (R.N.) Biology majors focus on the living world, on everything from microscopic organisms to the human body. They look at all of the elements and questions surrounding life, from questions about reproduction, to the ways in which our physical environment influences the way we grow and develop. Given the nature and scope of Biology, the field is often divided into sub-categories such as molecular biology, which studies the exchange and transfer of chemicals within living organisms, and cell biology, which examines the basic building blocks of living organisms. The bachelor of science in Nursing is the basic professional degree in nursing and it provides the foundation for graduate study (which you can pursue if you want to, but is by no means required for job security). If you major in Nursing, you'll take traditional science and liberal arts courses as a first-year student and probably begin clinical rotations at hospitals and other health care facilities during the second semester of your sophomore year. In practice, what that means is you'll start working at a hospital doing the kinds of things that nurses do. You'll receive patient reports, treat patients, and administer everything from medications to endotracheal suction procedures - the whole nine yards. In the course of your college career, you'll receive a substantial amount of practical, hands-on training. My Third Step: After completion of my undergraduate, I would then attend a Physician Assistant Graduate program I chose these majors because not only are they health-related, but because they would also look great on my graduate application into a Physician Assistant program. These majors would also provide me with beneficial clinical experience in which I could attribute into this career field. Shortly after graduating, my next step would then be to apply to a Physician Assistant Graduate program.

Admission to PA grad school is highly competitive. Reguiring that applicants complete at least two years of college courses in basic and behavioral science as prerequisites yo be considered for admission into the school, studies usually required of medical students.

Usually consisting of 27 months, the PA grad program is based on the medical school curriculum, which consists of a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. Both being rigorous and intense, the PA education includes instruction in several core sciences: Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physical Diagnosis, and Microbiology, Clinical laboratory Science, Behavioral science and Medical ethics.

During this program, PAs also must complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, with an emphasis on primary care in ambulatory clinics, physician offices and acute or long-term care facilities. Schools within NC that offer top-rated Physician Assistant Programs While at College I would then get my undergraduate in either Biology or Registered Nursing (R.N.) My Third Step: Upon Graduate of my P.A. Grad program, I would then take the PANCE So shortly after graduating the PA program, the next step for me to kick off my career would be to register to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

The PANCE is a computer-based, multiple-choice test containing questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge administered by The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

The five-hour PANCE exam includes 300 multiple-choice questions administered in five blocks of 60 questions with 60 minutes to complete each block. There is a total of 45 minutes allotted for breaks between blocks. The material on NCCPA's certification and recertification exams can be organized in two dimensions:
Organ systems and the diseases, disorders and medical assessments physician assistants encounter within those systems; and
The knowledge and skills physician assistants should exhibit when confronted with those diseases, disorders and assessments. My Fourth Step: After taking the PANCE, my fourth and final step would then be to apply to a P.A. Residency Program and then obtain a Physician Assistant Job Residency programs help recent Grads develop the judgment and technical abilities needed in a specialized practice area, such as Neuroscience or Orthopedic Surgery, which are some of the most difficult specialties to concentrate on. Another beneficial factor of a PA Residency Program would to gain both clinical and informative knowledge that would take years of on-the-job training to master. They also provide opportunity for the applicant(s) to take advantage of more professional opportunities because many employers give preference to residency-trained P.A.s (P.A. Residency Programs).

After completion of my residency,, I would be to apply to open Physician Assistant positions. According to Indeed.com, there are over 150+ career openings alone in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area alone, and according to Careerbuilder.com there are 11,926 jobs available nationwide.

As more Physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for primary healthcare providers, such as P.A.s. Because they are more cost-effective than physicians, they are also expected to have an increasing role in giving routine care.

Physician assistants will also be needed because the population in general is growing, and more people mean more need for healthcare specialists (Occupational Outlook Handbook). What exactly is a Physician Assistant? So when I first started this paper I knew that a Physician Assistant was a trained health-care provider that shared some of the same duties of a Physician, but I really didn't know the specifics, so after brief research this is what I found: Physician Assistant Career
Continued....

Physician Assistants are medical professionals formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, under the supervision of a physician. Working as members of the healthcare team, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests & X-rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting (Explore Health Careers). Common duties include recording progress notes, instructing and counseling patients, and the ordering/carrying out of therapies. And in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, PAs are also authorized to prescribe medications (What is a PA?). They also may have managerial duties, which may include duties such as ordering medical and laboratory supplies/equipment in addition to supervising technicians and assistants (Explore Health Careers). The End
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