Five benefits of consulting with a Physician’s Assistant (PA) for primary care

by Virginia Valentin and Hannah Anderson – Contributing Columnists

When finding a home base for health care, patients are no longer considering a single doctor in their community.

In today’s primary care setting, multiple professionals work together as a team. An integral member of the modern health care team, physician assistants, or PAs, are trained to work hands-on with patients, often serving as an extension of the primary care doctor.

PAs are licensed medical professionals who can perform an array of services including clinical examinations, diagnostic services, test result interpretations, counseling on preventive care, advising a treatment plan and more. In a primary care setting, PAs often take on specific roles, including preventive medicine and acute crisis management.

The thought of consulting with someone besides a medical doctor cause trepidation for some patients. Before insisting on an MD, consider these benefits to seeing a PA as a primary care provider.

  • PA students receive nearly three years of medical training and complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in areas including family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics and more.
  • PAs are closely tied to the doctor in primary care. Doctors trust PAs to carry out procedures, consultations and examinations on their own, but are available to the PA when complex medical questions arise.
  • PAs are trained to consider the whole patient and help advise patients about lifestyle and preventive care.
  • PAs take time to communicate with the patient. The PA’s schedule often allows more time to ask questions and discuss health care matters.
  • Approval ratings are high for PAs. Studies show patient satisfaction increases when a PA is available.

Benefits of consulting with a Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Education & Training
All NPs must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program, and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation. Didactic and clinical courses prepare nurses with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings.

Services
Autonomously and in collaboration with health care professionals and other individuals, NPs provide a full range of primary, acute and specialty health care services, including:

  • Ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays.
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and injuries
  • Prescribing medications and other treatments
  • Managing patients’ overall care
  • Counseling
  • Educating patients on disease prevention and positive health and lifestyle choices

Why we chose our NP?
Over the past year, we have strived to achieve balance in meeting the needs of as many patients as possible while still providing personal and exceptional care. During this transition we have sought physician assistants whom are highly qualified to assume aspects of your care while still being personally involved ourselves. We greatly appreciate the support you have provided during this time. After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to add a new and exciting role to enhance our team care approach. The implementation of the chronic care management (CCM) model has given us the opportunity to enlist an individual with focus on chronic disease management and wellness. We would like to welcome Rae Eaves, APRN whose education, training and experience has prepared her well to fulfill this new role. Rae’s role will include such topics as:

  • Diabetes management and education
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management and education
  • Women’s health

We hope that you are as eager to embrace this innovative concept as we are to embark on this new endeavor with you.