physician assistant's duties are based upon his job knowledge, skill level and the laws of the state.Basically, a physician assistant main function is to assist the physician.So, it can be said that the physician performs complicated procedures while the PA performs simple and routine procedures.However, the PA practice is growing rapidly.Due to this fact, many doctors allow their physician assistants to handle patient cases by themselves.Also, the individual states are assigning more job duties to physician assistants.Physician assistants that practice in surgical processes can also conduct medical procedures on their own. As the physician assistant gains experience, the doctor starts relying more on him.The job responsibilities of a physician assistant start to get co-mingled with that of his physician and gets blurred.So, how do you know which job responsibilities are approved for physician assistants?

A physician assistant is a medical professional that is dependent on others.This means that he has to be supervised by a licensed health practitioner.The licensed health practitioner is liable for the actions of his physician assistant.He tells what to do every week , according to his skill level and time on the job.A physician assistant is responsible for many things which include the following: 

Evaluate patientsA physician assistant has the ability to look at a patient's records, ask him about is medical circumstances, do physical tests , write up reports and forward them to the doctor.

Monitoring patients : A physician assistant has the ability to initiate patient monitoring plans, treat patients in both hospitals and other healthcare facilities.He can also help the doctor in his hospital rounds, and record the patient's progress.

Analyzing patients: He can perform and interpret the results of lab, radiology, cardio, and other procedures.

Perform therapeutics:Physician assistants can conduct injections and immunizations.They have the training to sew up injuries and handle medical conditions that were the result of distress or infections. They can assist while the doctor manages complex and life-threatening conditions.They can overlook and guide blood withdrawal in a DUI/DWI case.

Counseling patients : Physician assistant can tell patients about the benefits of sticking to the doctor's planned treatment.They also have the ability to give patients information about basic health, emotional problems and healthy guidelines.

Refer patients: PAs can refer patients to other medical professionals and social service agencies as required.

What a physician assistant cannot do: 

A physician assistant cannot initiate tasks for other professions such as optometry and radiologic.They cannot sign a death certificate, but can make a death pronouncement.

How the law puts restrictions on the reach of the physician assistant's practice.

The reach of a physician assistant's practice is just an idea basically.Even the theory is not clear because it states that these services are a part of the physician's range of practice.Take for instance the way that a particular North Carolina law places limitations on a physician assistant's scope of practice.Other states may end up doing the same thing.However, before discussing what is allowed by a physician assistant and what is not, please note that he cannot conduct any medical procedures if his license is not current.So, this is how he is limited: 

Drug prescriptions written by a PA must contain his identification number issued by the state. The PA's doctor must give him written instructions about indications and contraindications about prescribing drugs.If the PA does not have these in writing, he cannot prescribe drugs.The doctor also has to provide his physician assistant written guidelines for drug prescriptions.If no such document exists, the PA cannot prescribe drugs.If he issues the prescription without it, then this is against the law.The state has the ability to restrict a physician assistant's authority to prescribe drugs.Therefore every PA must check the state laws before writing a prescription.

A PA can compound and dispense drugs if the action is performed under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist and as per the regulations laid down by the state's Board of Pharmacy.

A physician assistant can ask for certain hospital and healthcare facilities if his direct supervising physician as written down precise directives on how it should be done.If the case is complex then the order written by the PA must be reviewed by the physician within a reasonable time frame as specified by the state.Each medical facility that provides patient care should have written documents set in place that will ensure that physician assistant orders will be authenticated.They must confirm that these requested orders are advantageous for patients.The state too may prescribe specific restrictions on what kind of tests or treatments a PA can order.

Every physician assistant has to keep his license up to date, be registered with the state, and possess an up to date Intent of Practice on file with the state.

Now, as you can see, a PA can perform all the duties that lie within his scope of practice.This is only acceptable if it is approved by his supervising doctor and follows the state's rules.What a physician can do and what he cannot do therefore boils down to : 

(a) The laws of the state

(b) The scope of a PA's work as defined in general and by the state

(c) His physician authorizes this actions and it is okay with the state.

The PA is also subjected to checks and balances because his orders are double-checked by other healthcare facilities.Simply put, this is what physician assistants are able to do , as well as restrictions. 
 


Comments

06/23/2012 5:40am

Great blog post.

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