Physicians do not just perform surgical operations, or attend patients. They also conduct or attend seminars in or out of the hospital. Some develop their knowledge through further education.
With these situations, hospitals need more medical staff to fill the positions being left by such physicians especially with increase in the number of patients (Lohr, 1996). In an article by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), this problem poses a creative solution; and that is hiring Physician Assistants.
Physician assistants’ responsibility ranges from obtaining medical histories of patients to making plans for treatments to performing minor surgical operations.
The public described its general understanding towards the tasks in Physician Assistance realm in a survey which had been conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, whereas, it had been noted that doctors stressed the similarity of both works which they venture to such as the diagnoses being conducted, prescription basis, care for patients, and all the other burdens that one doctor may have.
They usually handle primary care so that the physicians may attend to cases that require more expertise and attention (Isaacs & Knickman, 2004). They typically attend to far flung communities to give medical attention when physicians could not come.
This has been possible since several states laws allow physician supervisors to be away from physician assistants provided that they still have contact by means of telephone or electronic mail. With such large responsibilities, the question now is: Are physician assistants really the solution for reduced resident hours?
Physician Assistance Profession
Since its foundation on the mid-1960, the physician assistant profession has gained a relationship and support with organized medicine. The American Academy of Physician Assistant aids the PAs in rendering their service.
They also take part in meetings and activities of major medical organizations. Several laws concerning the physician assistant profession have been also passed like giving them the power to give prescriptions even without the signature of the supervising physician (Isaacs & Knickman, 2004).
In a smaller scale, physicians like having physician assistants in their staff. This is highlighted since the code of ethics of the physician assistant profession describes a unique relationship with the physician and the patient.
The physician assistance is a growing profession in the field of medicines. Hospitals demand more of them and the people are becoming more and more aware of their presence in medical institutions. In the survey presented to the AAPA, majority of the public are willing to be seen by a PA, either they have had a previous encounter with them or have none.
The public’s positive response to the PAs is a positive note especially for hospitals that have reduced resident hours. Their knowledge has also gone far from delivering primary care to all sorts of medical setting (Sacks, 2002).
Reduced Resident House Call for Creative Solution remarked that hiring PA’s costs lesser than hiring the towering physicians. Millions of dollars that can be saved by hiring PAs could be used for the improvement of the hospital facilities or conducting more research for the betterment of the medical practice (Sacks, 2002).
Not only is hiring physician assistants more cost-efficient than physicians, it is also more productive in terms of patient relations. PAs can spend more time with the patient compared with doctors and interns. They can also help the hospital employees that are not permanent with regards to the ins and outs of the policy and the system.
Comparison of PA tasks landscaping Physician pre-requisites
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, there is an average of two malpractices over a thousand patients for a practicing PA compared with over two over a hundred for a physician. This might also be the reason why majority of the public prefers being attended to by the PA.
Physician assistants also follow a code of ethic, just like any professional. The Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Physician Assistant Profession has been revised several times in order to fit the changing societal framework to which the physician assistants render their service. It includes guidelines on how the PA must respond to several situations regarding his work (Isaacs & Knickman, 2004; Sacks, 2002).
Explanations are also given for the understanding of each provision. The main core of the ethical code is that each PA must act morally and lawfully in carrying its duties and responsibilities. There should be no discrimination either in religion, race or belief.
The PA should not also engage in sexual relationship with his patient or to its immediate family or relative. He should always ensure that the patient gets the best medical attention he needs, not disclosing any information to other people beside the patient (Sacks, 2002).