What is a Physician Assistant (PA-C)?

A physician assistant is a medical professional licensed to practice medicine under physician supervision. PAs are able to evaluate patients, perform physical examinations, order/interpret laboratory tests and imaging studies, forma a diagnosis, construct a treatment plan, prescribe medications, and perform various procedures including assisting in surgery.

The Physician Assistant profession emerged in the mid 1960s when there was a shortage of Primary Care Physicians. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. of Duke University formed the first class comprised of 4 Navy Hospital Corpsmen. Physician Assistants are thus trained under the medical model. Physician Assistants strongly believe in allowing patients to participate in their own health by educating them.

Physician Assistants are board certified by NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.) To main certification, PAs are required to earn Continuing Medical Education every 2 years and take the re-certifying exam every 6-10 years. Continuing Medical Education ensures that medical providers not only refresh on medical concepts but also to stay up to date on current trends. Education comes in various forms, such as attending conferences,reading journals, and research.

The Physician Assistant employed by Dr. Toshok has earned a Master’s Degree. This involved a 27 month program of intense study and clinical rotations in various specialties including: Primary Car, Geriatrics, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Obstetrics/Gynecology, and Emergency Medicine. The Physician Assistant works under the supervision of Dr. Toshok in order to evaluate new patients, speak with patients at follow-up visits, perform procedures such as trigger point injections, implantable pump refills, and joint injections. In this age of expanding population and more people suffering with chronic pain, we need to balance between spending quality time with patients to provide best treatment possible but also to minimize wait time and provide ease of scheduling appointments. This is the role of the Physician Assistant.



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