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How The Shortage Of Physicians Led To A New Type Of Medical Provider: Physician Assistant Volunteer State Community College English 1010 Research Paper

1644 words - 7 pages

How the Shortage of Physicians Led to a New Type of Medical Provider: Physician Assistant
The growth of population about fifty years ago, prompted the shortage of physicians in the United States, resulting the rising of a new medical profession in the health care system, physician assistant (PA). It is very common, nowadays, to be first treated by a physician assistant before being seen by a doctor. Physician assistants were fundamental to reducing the shortage of doctors in the United States years ago; throughout the years PAs become vital in hospitals and clinics, gaining preeminence within in the health care workforce. Once again the health care system is experiencing the same problem, the number of demand (patients) is growing, and the number of supply (doctors) is not growing fast enough to supply demand. The health care system is going through a change; now the question is if, as previously, PAs will help reduce the problem of shortage of doctors. Understanding the origins of physician assistant (PA) in the US is essential, in order to predict, and prepare for the future of health care.
Physician assistant program was designated to supply the urgent need of doctors fifty years ago, when United States faced a shortage of physicians. The solution to solve the problem was to create a new type of medical provider that would work alongside doctors, instead of competing with them. Physician Assistant program was developed to be shorter than physician training, however effective; a two-year program was created, and consisted in furnishing physician assistants with tasks, previously, only administered by physicians. Since the creation of physician assistant program, PAs are trained to have hands-on patient. The path to become a PA consist of four-year bachelor degree, with focus on sciences courses. The American Academy of PAs (AAPA), in its website suggests that mostly of PA programs require chemistry, physiology, anatomy, microbiology, and biology as prerequisites; as well, healthcare experience with hands-on patient care. According to AAPA, PA programs are about 26 months long; it consists of theory instruction in anatomy, biochemistry, physical diagnosis, and many other science courses; also, it is required over 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and other areas. Physician assistants that are PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) certified, have autonomy to prescribe medications and operate in many areas of medicine. Physicians and PAs have numerous similarities in their roles as medical providers, for example, both providers are licensed to practice medicine, diagnosis and treat patients, also prescribe medication. However, PAs and doctors differ in certain aspects, as Dr. Mark Kauffman and Dr. Silvia M. Ferretti mention in an article for the Academic Medicine, that “though diagnosis and management are well thought in PA programs, mechanisms of disease are not” (1645). Although...

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