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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,869
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

It has been my impression that Physician Assistants and Nurse Practioners are well educated and trained to assist in providing routine medical care under the supervision of an MD/DO. Most of my experiences have been good but limited to general/routine/primary care such as cold, allergy, cough.

 

My question is the role of PA/NP in providing care in a speciality setting such as cardiology. I selected a cardiologist based upon excellent academic credentials and patient reviews. I really llike the cardiologist but it seems the very large group tries to divert care to their large staff of PA's.

 

Yes, I can decline the appointment with a PA but that means waiting months for the MD appointment. 

 

The PA I was appointed to has a degree in psycology and her PA degree. How can this person have the same clinical skills as an board certified cardiologist with 15 years experience. The MD has a degree in biomedical science from Rice University and MD from Stanford. 

 

What has been your experience or opinion about seeing a PA for initial treatment (not follow up) of your specialized medical issue?

Maybe PA's in a speciality practice (not primary care) should have advanced training and certification. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,040
Registered: ‎11-16-2014

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants


@granddi wrote:

It has been my impression that Physician Assistants and Nurse Practioners are well educated and trained to assist in providing routine medical care under the supervision of an MD/DO. Most of my experiences have been good but limited to general/routine/primary care such as cold, allergy, cough.

 

My question is the role of PA/NP in providing care in a speciality setting such as cardiology. I selected a cardiologist based upon excellent academic credentials and patient reviews. I really llike the cardiologist but it seems the very large group tries to divert care to their large staff of PA's.

 

Yes, I can decline the appointment with a PA but that means waiting months for the MD appointment. 

 

The PA I was appointed to has a degree in psycology and her PA degree. How can this person have the same clinical skills as an board certified cardiologist with 15 years experience. The MD has a degree in biomedical science from Rice University and MD from Stanford. 

 

What has been your experience or opinion about seeing a PA for initial treatment (not follow up) of your specialized medical issue?

Maybe PA's in a speciality practice (not primary care) should have advanced training and certification. 


I saw a PA right before my first heart attack. All she did was keep exclaiming what great shape I was in and asked me for diet tips. LOL. She never ran enough tests to see I was about to have a heart attack.

 

I guess I had a negative experience. Actually, when I had shingles last year I went to an Emergi-Med. The doctor I expected to see was a PA and missed the correct diagnosis telling me I had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics. I ended up getting the right diagnosis too late and now have post herpetic neuralgia.

 

Of course this is anecdotal and I am sure there are some very good Physician Assistants out there. However, my experiences have been awful.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 60,975
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

It might not be ideal but is reality for a variety of reasons including that there appear simply not to be enough doctors to go around. Even in ER's, so much of the 'routine' is no longer performed by MD's. A number of years ago, I had to see a neurologist and was sort of surprised that what I actually saw was a PA who did the bulk of the examination. Prior to leaving, I was ushered in for about a five minute visit with the actual doctor. It seems the way it works is if the PA feels there is sufficient need the MD will get involved, otherwise, one might or might not get the sort of perfunctory laying on of hands by the real deal...


In my pantry with my cupcakes...
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,477
Registered: ‎12-13-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

I would never see a PA in place of a MD. Especially in any critical area such as the heart.

Make an appointment with a cardiologist.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,839
Registered: ‎06-08-2016

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

My primary doctor doesn't use either.   

I see my nephrologist every 3 months.

I see the PA one visit, then the next visit is with the MD.

Not sure if all MDs do this but I know mine reviews the information from my visit with the PA.  

 

A PA is required to complete clinical hours & they are certified in their own Board.

 

I have personally known RNs who have gone on to be NPs

They are very well qualified, in fact most are qualified when they are an RN

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,302
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

PAs are far more and better educated than RNs

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,302
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

In the future, secondary to recent health changes over the past 10 years, you will be seeing more CRNPs and PAs than doctors. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 60,975
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

Let's face it, patient care is a mixed bag regardless of the professional you see. I've been seen by at least two relatively incompetent supposed 'specialists', so I suppose I'd rather have been seen by a fully competent NP or PA than a physician with his (or her) head up their backside. 


In my pantry with my cupcakes...
Honored Contributor
Posts: 23,331
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

If I have the flu I go see my PA, not the dr.  If I tell her I need drugs, I get them.  He doesn't think I am as bad as I know I am with the flu or bronchitis etc., so I go to her.   I usually have to go back in a few days if it's him!  LOL!!!

 

Otherwise he is great and not someone to throw pills at every little thing, but the PA and I KNOW the flu and associated ills and how it goes with ME.

 

PA's I have known (three) have been fantastic and for things like a flu test I needed quickly, getting in during flu season, etc. they are WONDERFUL!  

 

The Univ. of Oklahoma had a great curriculum for PA's many years ago.  They are well trained and can start off at a great salary!  They started year one placing every one graduated. . . It's a 2 year program I believe. 

 

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 680
Registered: ‎04-19-2016

Re: Discussion of the role of Physician Assistants

I use what is needed.  I do my yearly with pa and no big deal. If I had an issue I would follow up with the doctor.

 

My husband has a cardiologist for his heart and that is the way I would go.  If I need a doctor in a specialized field then that is what I find to be the best.

 

We have had some experiences and that is what I base my opinion on.