View Full Version : Role of a US Physician's Assistant

12-09-2013, 02:34 AM
Generally what is the role of a physician's assistant at a typical American hospital? Can he or she work in an ICU?

Siri Kirpal
12-09-2013, 03:49 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

PAs always work with physicians, although sometimes they work alone, but under a physician's orders. If a physician needed a PA with him/her in the ICU, a PA would most likely be there.

I'd google it for more information.


Siri Kirpal, whose cousin is a PA

12-09-2013, 05:24 AM
PA's work in just about every setting of American healthcare.

12-09-2013, 06:00 PM
My doctor's PA does everything, leaving the doctor time to browse the internet for his new boat...

And yes, every time I've been in ICU, it's been under the eye of a PA.


12-09-2013, 10:18 PM
I interviewed a PA once for a class. He told me he was allowed to do almost everything a doctor did. The only thing he couldn't do was surgery by himself. Otherwise they can treat anywhere in the hospital system. They are technically under a doctor but that doesn't mean a doctor follows them around- it means a doctor looks over their charts and pays the malpractice. My family doctor was the one I interviewed and he did everything for us growing up- shots, removing stitched, physicals, prescribe medicines, etc.

12-10-2013, 03:43 AM
Would a PA be refered to as "doctor" as far as title goes?

12-10-2013, 04:24 AM
A PA is a PA - they do not have a medical license (or a PhD) and therefore wouldn't be called 'doctor'. They would just be Mr. or Ms. whoever. Or probably just have patient's call them by their first name.

I have a friend who's studying to be a PA and we had a conversation several months ago. The rules for PAs vary state by state. In some states the doctor you work under has to be in the building in order for you to work, some the doctor has to practice within a certain mile radius. Other states have much looser roles. You'll have to research whatever state your PA is from.

12-10-2013, 04:38 AM
I've had experiences with PAs in several subspecialties.

My husband had open heart surgery several years ago, recovery went awry.

It was the PA who re-opened his chest (in the room), began the necessary surgery until the surgeon could get there.

I'm pretty sure it's often PAs who work as "hospitalists," making decisions re what tests are/are not necessary for patients in the hospital, with the input/under guidance from the specialists/doctors patients are admitted under.

Siri Kirpal
12-10-2013, 04:41 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Some PAs have doctorates; my cousin has one. But no, it's not a requirement of the trade.


Siri Kirpal

12-11-2013, 06:52 PM
PA's do just about everything, and they are much easier to talk to.