PAs are Taking a Greater Role in Healthcare Delivery
Physician Assistants spend their days diagnosing patients’ illnesses and injuries, performing physical examinations and providing patients with treatment plans. They perform services that physicians may provide, but always in a collaborative relationship with one or more physicians. PAs are educated in a team-based approach to healthcare, which improves coordination of care and can improve outcomes. PAs can work with a high degree of autonomy as well.
PAs can be deployed in a manner tailor-made to address your precise concerns, whether it is increasing access to care, decreasing appointment waiting periods, adding a clinical expert in a specialty or subspecialty, improving coordination of care, boosting patient education or follow-up care after surgery.
With all a PA can add to your practice, taking a leadership role in helping to prepare PA students for their future careers is a great way to ensure our exceptional students are ready to take positions in your practice of those of your colleagues.
PAs Can Work In All Types of Healthcare Delivery Settings
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, the latest year for which they have data, PAs held 118,800 jobs with the following breakdown:
55% in physician offices
26% in hospitals
8% in outpatient care centers
3% in educational services
2% in employment services
Most work full time with some working more than 40 hours per week. PAs may work nights, weekends or holidays and they may be on call.
PAs Education Follows the Medical Model
PAs are licensed medical professionals who train following the medical model. At Baylor College of Medicine - PA students take anatomy and ethics classes with -M.D. students. While scheduling requires that other classes are offered separately to PA and M.D. students, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and other classes are taught by the same faculty to both PA and M.D. students and the curriculum for both groups of students in these classes are very similar.
Since PAs are trained to treat the underlying medical condition with much the same focus as physicians, communication- between individuals in both professions is easier than between individuals from other professions.
Precepting May Lead to Hiring
Hiring a good PA is tough. All of our students have offers of employment upon graduation. Nationally 78 percent of recent PA graduates receive multiple job offers. By precepting PA students in your practice, you will not only get to know a prospective employee very well, you will have a better chance of recruiting that PA or his or her colleagues to your practice.
Studies have consistently shown that PAs provide high-quality care with outcomes similar to physician-provided care. The presence of PAs within practice tends to decrease wait times both in the waiting room and in the examination room. Additionally, studies have shown that incorporating PAs into office or hospital practice can improve outcomes. Studies have also shown that patients are just as satisfied with medical care provided by PAs as with that provided by doctors and do not distinguish between types of care providers.
Further, a practice employing a PA pays less in overhead costs for that PA compared to a physician, while having a healthcare provider on board who can provide most of the same services.
From each graduating class, 10-20 percent of our students have gone on to work in one of the settings in which they completed rotations.
Even if you are not looking to hire a PA right now, your role as a preceptor will help to increase the supply of highly qualified PAs ready to work in your chosen specialty.