What is a Physician Assistant?

What is a Physician’s Assistant?

Since we have added a wonderful Physician Assistant, Sarada Schossow, PA-C, to the practice, I thought it would be beneficial to our patients to outline what exactly a Physician Assistant is and how they are used in family practice. Here is the official definition of a Physician Assistant, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants:

“Physician Assistants (PAs) are health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. They conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. They are often found in primary care practice — family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology — but also work in many specialties, such as cardiology, emergency medicine, oncology, dermatology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, and in surgery and the surgical subspecialties.”

To better relate the concepts to patients, “A Patients Guide To Physician Assistants” created the “Patient’s Definition” of a Physician Assistant. This helps patients understand how care with a Physician Assistant will be seen from their perspective and has three basic categories that a Physician Assistant might fall under:

Physician representativesBasically, a Physician Assistant is like a vice president that acts on behalf of their president (physician). PAs are competent and qualified healthcare providers that serve as representatives for their physician in doing most of the things for you that the doctor would. They are more of an associate than an assistant that helps to improve the efficacy of the physician’s practice. This means that if the doctor’s office that you visit has several Physician Assistants then you should see an overall decrease in wait time and an increase in time with the healthcare provider (PA or physician). It also means that you should be able to get appointments sooner because there are more healthcare providers to choose from.

Generalists. An important aspect to understand is that physician assistants are generalists. They are trained extensively in the same medical model that is used for doctors. Being a generalist allows them to have a wealth of knowledge in many areas of medicine. This means that they are able to approach your medical concerns from a whole-body perspective.

Patient Educators. One of the primary roles of the Physician Assistant is patient education. A patient that understands their illness and what they need to do to fix it will hopefully be able to prevent further illness. In other words, understanding is a key to wellness and prevention. PAs often have more time with the patient in order to educate them about their health.

At Family Care, Sarada Schossow, PA-C will be working directly with Dr. Sabrina Mentock and Dr. Elaina Lee to provide great continuity of care for our patients. Sarada Schossow, PA-C will allow Family Care to maintain the same personal level of care we currently show to each of our patients, while still having the ability to meet the growing demand for high quality medical care in our community.

To accommodate our growing volume of patients, current patients may be offered the chance to see Sarada Schossow, PA-C for certain types of appointments at times that may be more convenient or immediate than their current provider can arrange. These types of visits include:

  • New patient appointments
  • Acute illnesses and conditions
  • Annual preventive wellness exams
  • 5pm-8pm visit requests on Monday and Tuesday

Because this is a rather new concept for patients at our practice, here is another quote from “A Patient’s Guide to Physician Assistants” regarding the types of services a Physician Assistant can provide:

When making a decision about whether to see a NP, PA, or MD most of the time it should not matter. The reason is that the NPs and PAs are also trained to know when something is beyond their ability or understanding. They should know when to refer you to a specialist or a physician. Any of the above practitioners know how to research and consult other practitioners in order to bring you the care you require. Doctors have more formal education and training to draw from, but aside from that there is much more variance in personality and individual dedication to the patient then in the type of provider you chose.

Check our Sarada’s introduction video below!

We are very excited to add Sarada Schossow, PA-C to our team and think she is a great fit with our practice. If you have any questions about the role she will play in providing great care for our patients, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office!

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