Working as a Physician Assistant in the Times of Corona

The health sector has gone into great work as the coronavirus outbreak caused a pandemic throughout the world. Physicians and other health workers are working day and night rigorously, trying to battle and end the pandemic. This work is becoming too much for the physicians and health workers, causing physician assistants’ needs. The physician assistant, a mid-level medical practitioner, will work under a licensed doctor’s supervision, reducing the workload. Before being able to work as a medical practitioner, you have to become one.

How do I become a physician assistant?

Get a bachelor’s degree

Getting a bachelor’s degree can be a sure bet for becoming a physician assistant. You can have the degree in any course, but it is best to have them in relevant ones. The degree should be in courses like nursing, health sciences, sciences, biochemistry, etc. To gain admission to the PA master’s program, aspiring physician assistants will need undergraduate coursework in organic chemistry, biochemistry, pathophysiology, immunology, cellular or molecular biology, and genetics. They also need a bachelor’s degree for admission into a graduate program. Some master’s programs will require students to have healthcare experience.

Some graduate schools will accept a bachelor’s degree in any subject, while some will list specific subjects. Some schools will offer dual BS/MS assistant programs that allow students to save time and work. After obtaining the degree and certificate, you can now become a certified physician assistant.

Take PANCE, Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam

The aspiring physician assistant will have to take the Physical Assistant National Certifying Exam, PANCE, before becoming a qualified physician assistant. After students graduate from any ARC-PA-accredited master’s program, they become eligible to take the PANCE exam. The exam covers diseases, organ systems and disorders, and assessments. The medical content of the exam takes about 95% of the exam. The exam certifies them as professional and qualified physician assistants. 

After passing the exam, physical assistants must get a state license before they can practice. They can also contact their state licensing board to get more information. After passing the exam and having the license, you can now work as a physician assistant under a doctor’s supervision in any licensed hospital, healthcare center, etc.

Get a master’s degree

As an aspiring physical assistant, you should get a master’s degree in any ARC-PA-accredited master of science program. The student will need a bachelor’s degree before being admitted for the master’s degree. The applicants also need a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA and a minimum 3.25 GPA in science-related courses. Aspiring physician assistants that want to earn a master’s degree must have a minimum score of 300 on the GRE. The master’s degree takes seven semesters of full-time study and 147 credit hours to complete. Students usually take 15 weeks of instructional and informative science courses on several topics.

Topics they take include medical ethics, introduction to obstetrics and gynecology, and clinical radiology. After taking and completed the coursework, students finish eight six-weeks clinical rotations in different areas. The clinical rotation areas include general surgery, pediatrics, behavioral and mental health, and family medicine. After getting the master’s degree, the aspiring physician assistant can become a certified physician assistant. Earning a master’s degree might require you to hold previous healthcare working experience as some master’s program will demand it.

 Get real-world work experience with PCE or HCE

Physician assistant programs usually require working experience in either Patient Care Experience (PCE) or Healthcare Experience (HCE). Aspiring PA should have at least 1000 hours of working experience in PCE or HCE areas. The work experience can be a volunteered or paid type of work. The aspiring physician assistant can work as an emergency medical technician or complete a summer internship at a medical office. Direct patient care, like when working as a registered nurse, is also acceptable. You can also visit CASPA, Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants, for more information.

Final thoughts 

To work as a certified physician assistant, you have to take these steps. After taking exams and earning certificates, you can now operate under a qualified doctor as a physician assistant. You can also apply and attend an accredited PA program for more qualifications. You might also need work experience, so get those to become a qualified physician assistant.

Author: Editorial Team

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