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Physician Assistant Advantages And Disadvantages

The role of a physician assistant (PA) has been a vital part in the history of the health care system and continues to serve a much needed role in the medical model today. Although many patients are well-informed regarding the physician assistant profession, there are also some who are wary of seeing a PA over seeing a medical doctor (MD) for their health care needs. Despite the differences between the training and overall education model of a Physician Assistant versus a Medical Doctor, the quality of patient care is not affected. Therefore a patient’s perception of the care received during a medical visit should not decrease because of the type of health care provider. A physician assistant is a mid-level health care provider who provides…show more content…
A PA student is in school for approximately two and a half years, while an MD student is in school for up to eight years. Although there is a drastic difference in length, this is does not necessarily mean a difference in competence. Most PA programs require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools and also require students to have approximately three years of healthcare training and experience before admittance. With the added experience and similar teaching material being provided, both a PA and MD should be knowledgeable regarding the same medical topics. Another topic that produces opposition is the difference in the training of a PA and MD after they complete the didactic portion of school. As previously mentioned, a PA is trained in approximately 10 different specialties and can choose to work in any field that they choose after graduation and licensure. A MD student is required to complete residency that can last anywhere from three to seven years, receiving specialized education only in the specialty chosen. Therefore a PA receives extensive training of all allowed specialties, while an MD receives a very specialized education in one specialty. This fact alone discredits that a PA will not be as competent as a MD when it comes to general medical…show more content…
In the medical field today, a PA is considered one of the best careers in America and continues to increase in importance and prevalence as knowledge about this career increases. There is also a dire need for this profession in the health care field. Due to an increasing shortage of doctors, increases in physician specialization, and a changing health care system, the United States is relying heavily on the PA career to solve this medical workforce problem (Hooker et al., 2007). There is not only a need for physician assistants but a want for them by the general patient population as well. This want is demonstrated through a series of Patient Satisfaction Surveys performed comparing the satisfaction of care received from a medical doctor versus a physician assistant. The patients involved in the survey came from a variety of cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and health status. The results of numerous surveys all conveyed the following results: “In our national cross-sectional satisfaction surveys comparing physicians and PAs, PAs were rated as favorably as physicians suggesting that there are no differences in satisfaction between provider types regardless of patient sociodemographic characteristics and health status” (Hooker et al., 2005). In multiple studies, it was also proven that PA satisfaction was not only equal to but greater

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