What is a PA?

Physician assistants (PAs) are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and can write prescriptions in most states. Physician assistants practice in primary care medicine–family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and in surgery and the surgical subspecialties. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. PA practice may also include education, research, and administrative services.