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What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

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What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

Mar 25, 2021
Sometimes you can't visit your doctor, but a physician assistant most likely is available. Patients often wonder whether PAs are just as qualified as regular doctors. On this Health Minute, Dr. Jennifer Coombs, Ph.D, explains why PAs are qualified, and why patients often say they're just as satisfied with a PA's care.

Learn more about this health topic in the full-length interview.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: Something comes up and you can't get an appointment with your doctor, but you can see a physician assistant. Jennifer Coombs is a PA. Will I get just as good care from a PA as from a doctor?

Will I Get Good Care from a PA?

Jennifer: Absolutely. PAs are very well-trained and qualified to see patients for quite certainly simple issues, but also complex issues. You're going to see PAs in neurology. You're going to see PAs in the nursing home. You're going to see PAs in family practice clinics.

What Can a PA Do for Me?

Interviewer: Wow. So even in specialty care there are physician assistants.

Jennifer: Absolutely. They're doing procedures. They're doing absolutely everything that their supervising physician can do.

Are Patients Satisfied with PA-Provided Care?

Interviewer: And I suppose patients are happy that they're able to get in and get their problem taken care of.

Jennifer: So research shows that patients are just as satisfied with PA-provided care as with physician care, especially when there's a time trade-off.

updated: March 25, 2021

originally published: January 30, 2019

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