The ability to freely move from one medical specialty to another is a very attractive aspect of the profession. PAs have many choices when it comes to clinical care.
Primary carePrimary care is a high-demand field for PAs. Both Forbes and The Wall Street Journal have reported on how PAs can help fill the void in primary care providers. In addition, Walgreens just announced their plans to offer primary care services. Their “Take Care Clinics” will use nurse practitioners and physician assistants to deliver needed healthcare to Americans.
PA procedure specialtiesBeyond diagnosing and prescribing medications, PAs can also perform office and inpatient procedures in some specialties. These specialties allow you to practice technical skills without long hours in the operating room. Here are some common procedures PAs perform by specialty.
- Skin biopsies
- Laser therapies
- Botulinum toxin injections
- Suture lacerations
- Incision and drainage on abscesses
- Lumbar puncture
- Apply casts and splints
Surgical specialtiesFor quite a long time, PAs have been able to first-assist in surgery. Your time may be spent in the operating room alongside your supervising physician, or, you may be responsible for pre- and post-surgical inpatient care. In some surgery specialties, the surgical PA’s role is well-established. The American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants has an outstanding reference that displays the job duties and skills of PAs in each surgical specialty. Here are a few PA skills from two surgical specialties:
- Prepare veins for coronary bypass
- Chest tube insertions
- Utilize an array of suturing techniques to close with minimal scarring
NeonatologyLast but not least, PAs are beginning to have a presence in neonatology, evidenced by a surfacing of residency programs:
PA neonatology residency programs
- Umbilical line placement
- Needle decompression of the chest
- Chest tube placement
- Lumbar puncture