The function of the current day Physician Assistant

Are physician assistants functioning like nurse practitioners, nursees, physicians, or some other model?

In the 1960s a shortage of primary care medical
providers in the United States, especially in the rural
and urban underserved communities, coincided with
the return of military servicemen who had delivered
medical care in Vietnam but were “unqualified.” One
solution was to train these men quickly and allow them
to work under the supervision of a physician. Dr
Eugene Stead, an advocate for a new breed of
healthcare worker, created the first training programme
for physician assistants in North Carolina in
1965. Four former Navy corpsmen enrolled. From this,
the profession has grown to over 45 000 practitioners,
55% of whom are women.6 This compares with
2 697 000 registered nurses (95% women), 196 000
nurse practitioners (data on proportion of women not
available),7 and 778 000 physicians (23% women).8 Half
of all physician assistants work in primary care; others
work in emergency care, surgery, orthopaedics, and
other specialties
Most applicants today are not former military personnel
but school leavers or health professionals who
have made an early decision to become physician
assistants. They have decided against medical school,
trading some future income and additional prestige for
lifestyle factors such as a more defined schedule and
fewer hours on call. Physician assistants are dependent
practitioners, always working under the supervision
(direct or by telephone) of a designated physician. Physicians
may delegate to physician assistants only those
medical duties that are within their scope of practice.

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