Physician Associates are trained to perform a number of roles including:
- taking medical histories
- performing examinations
- diagnosing illnesses
- analysing test results
- developing management plans
They work under the direct supervision of a doctor.
What is the difference between a Physician Associate and a Nurse Practitioner?
Both physician associates and nurse practitioners require a formal degree of education and both are trained to take care of the ill and deliver healthcare to those in need. While at first glance they may appear to be similar, there are some differences between the two professions which mainly relate to the type of education that each profession requires.
Nurse Practitioner: A nurse practitioner, or NP, is essentially a more academically advanced and experienced registered nurse. Nurse practitioners must follow through with continued education and recertify after a certain number of years. Nurse Practitioners may also need to apply for additional responsibilities at the state level. Depending on the individual nurse’s level of training, most Nurse Practitioners can deal with wound dressings, removal of stitches, taking blood, injections, vaccinations, smears and much more. A Physician Associate’s profession does not cover him or her to deal with any of the above for Nurse Practitioners.
Physician Associate: Physician associate training focuses on adult medicine in hospital and general practice settings rather than on specialty care. Physician associates take medical histories, perform examinations, develop differential diagnoses, analyse test results, develop management plans and refer patients as required. The Nurse Practitioner’s profession does not cover them to deal with any of the above for Physician Associates.
In addition to those points above, they can also issue sick notes and prescribe medication. However, they ares not authorised to sign prescriptions but they can get a doctor to sign them on their behalf. They can also make referrals such as physiotherapy, x-rays and ultrasounds etc. If they feel that it is necessary that you should be seen further by the duty doctor on that day then this will be honoured and dealt with accordingly.