What Is a Physician Assistant?

| Patient Education

While browsing for a medical provider, you may have noticed different letters after the provider’s name. While medical care has primarily been associated with a medical doctor (MD), an advanced practice provider (APP), like a physician assistant (PA) at Schneck Primary Care can help manage your health too.

What Your PA Can Do

Indiana code, area of specialty, and the medical center where they are employed ultimately determine the care that a PA may provide. A PA in Indiana generally has the authority to offer the following services.

  • Conduct physicals
  • Request/interpret tests
  • Diagnose/treat illnesses
  • Write prescriptions
  • Develop treatment plans

What is the difference between an MD and a PA?

A PA is a licensed clinician who selects from many areas to practice medicine. In comparison, a medical doctor (MD) is a licensed physician who also chooses from many specialties. Yet, each occupation differs in educational requirements and capabilities in medical practice.

Both PA and MD students must undergo intense coursework. The duration of their studies differs along with the subject matter. To become a PA, students take about 2 years to complete postgraduate courses in classroom and clinical environments. They may study areas like family medicine, pediatrics, and emergency medicine. An MD takes courses, but their education usually consists of 4 years in postgraduate school. Then another 3 to 7 years in a residency where they research and practice their specialty. Specialization qualifies an MD for more capabilities in practice, like certain surgeries. But, a PA can contribute a lot to patients’ care.

Why See a PA for Medical Care

PAs have benefited healthcare by prioritizing patient education and providing much-needed support to MDs. With 2,000 hours of clinical rotations plus certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), a PA serves as a valuable resource for both patients and other staff members. Generally, PAs have better availability for taking on new patients which eases the stress on the medical system amidst the shortage of healthcare providers. Individuals who’d like to focus on their health and learn about personalized plans should visit with a PA.

A health provider gives her female patient a high five.

Get Personalized Care

Our PAs work alongside MDs to show our patients they’re more than their name and medical chart. See a provider at Schneck Primary Care who will take the time to talk with you about your health. Remember, your health is yours.

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Bret Cornn

About the Author

Bret A. Cornn PA-C

Bret Cornn is a physician assistant at Schneck Primary Care.