Physician Assistant: A Day in the Life

A typical day in the life of a physician assistant.

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At 8 a.m., you arrive at your supervising physician's office. The two of you meet to discuss the patients scheduled for appointments that day. At 9, both of you start seeing patients in separate exam rooms. You do routine physical exams required for school or employment. You order and evaluate blood tests, X-rays, and EKGs and write prescriptions within established guidelines. There are few minor emergencies: You suture a patient who cut his knee after falling off a skateboard. Then there's a more serious case: a patient who appears to be suffering heart trouble. You and the doctor agree that the patient should be admitted to the hospital—and you accompany him. While at the hospital, you review the charts of the doctor's post-op patients and write orders, careful to abide by conditions agreed to by the doctor and hospital. Back at the office, the doctor asks you to spend some time with two of his patients: a new mother who wants to know about contraceptive options, and an obese man who wants to start a diet and exercise program.