Emma Pfeffer

A Career As A Physician Assistant

Career Overview

Physician assistants provide health care services under the supervision of doctors.

PAs perform a range of medical duties. They work in all areas of medicine including primary care, family medicine, and emergency medicine.

PA provide basic care. They gather information from patients, perform physical exams, and order lab tests. They explain test results and review treatment options with patients and their families. If more than one treatment is available, they help patients decide which option to choose.

PAs can also do more complex tasks, such as:

  • Set simple fractures
  • Run electrocardiograms (EKGs)
  • Sew up wounds
  • Close incisions after surgery

Career Skills and Interests

  • Express ideas clearly when speaking and writing
  • Listen to others, understand, and ask questions
  • Read and understand written information

Career Working Conditions

  • High level of social contact
  • Deal with angry patients
  • Placed in conflict situations
  • Responsible for health and safety of patients
  • Communicate by email and phone
  • Work in a group
  • Responsible for outcomes

Career Wages and Outlook

PAs in Minnesota make an average of $94,630 per year. All PAs in the United states make an average of $90,930

In both Minnesota and the United States, the outlook is moderate.

Career Related Occupations

  • Midwives
  • Acupuncturists
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • LPNs
  • RNs
  • Pharmacists

Program Of Study - Physician Assisting

Program Overview

Physician assisting programs prepare people to diagnose and treat patients.

  • Basic medical sciences
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Clinical medicine
  • Examination and diagnosis
  • Properties of drugs and medication
  • Patient communications and care
  • Medical ethics and law
  • Professional standards
  • While completing a physician assisting program, you spend two years working as an intern in a hospital or clinic under the supervision of a licensed physician.

    Program Admission

    Amission to bachelor's programs in physician assisting usually requires the completion of some college courses first. These courses typically include the following:

  • General Biology with labs
  • Calculus
  • General Chemistry with labs
  • English
  • Microbiology with labs
  • Organic Chemistry with labs
  • General Physics with labs
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • Statistics
  • Program Typical Course Work

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Counseling and Public Health
  • Diagnostic Methods
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Immunology
  • Medical Ethics, Microbiology, and Terminology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical Assessment
  • Preventative Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • All programs include at least a year of clinical rotations, where you rotate between programs that give you hands-on experience in different kinds of clinical settings. This usually includes:

  • Community Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Practice
  • Geriatrics
  • Medicine
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Related Programs

    • Anatomy
    • Medicine
    • Medicine and Medical Services
    • Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Veterinary
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Osteopathic Medicine
    • Physiology
    • Pre-Health Services
    • Pre-Medicine

    Schools That Offer My Program Of Study

    • UND
    • Uof W: La Crosse
    • Augsburg
    • Bethel University

    College Choice:
    University of North Dakota

    College Info

    Size and Location: UND is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There are about 14,800 students enrolled.

    Admission Requirements: To get into UND, you need to have taken either the ACT (23) or SAT. The average GPA is about 3.4.

    College Expenses: Tuition, Room, and Board cost about $12,745 with Minnesota Reciprocity. I would allow about $15,000 per year to go here after the extra fees and costs.

    Financial Aid: To be eligible for Financial Aid, you need to fill out the FAFSA form and send it by April 15th for the following fall semester.

    Housing: There is co-ed, female and male housing available on-campus.

    Activities: There are many different clubs and organizations including all types of sports. The are also Fraternities and Sororoties available to join.

    Informational Interview

    Briefly record your thoughts and feelings about the workplace and the person you just visited.

    I think that I could fit in, because I want to help others and I work great with people.

    What did you learn in the interview?

    I learned that working in the health field is more then helping others. It is a real concern for HIPAA to keep patient confidentiality and privacy.

    What did you like? What didn't you like?

    I liked that Lana was easy to talk to. I realized that sometimes it can be a life and death situation, even at the clinic, which scares me.

    Did you uncover concerns or advantages to this occupation?

    Not really, because I knew a lot about HIPAA, because of High-STEP.

    What advice did you receive?

    I was told to wait to have a boyfriend or family, because school is more important.

    Did you discover another occupation to explore?

    Yes, I realized that I really want to be a pediatrics physician.

    How was the work environment?

    We met at Noodles and Company, but I have been to the clinic before, and everyone there is really nice. P.S. Noodles was awesome!!

    Do you think you would be happy in this occupation?

    Yes, because I really want to help others, but not in surgery, because that is gross.

    Plans To Reach Your Goals

    I will volunteer as much as I can, because that will give me experience that I might need in the future. I am going to put all of my focus into college and try not to get wrapped up in drama and lots of parties.

    I want to succeed in my career, so even though it will take me a while to get through college, a Physicians Assistant is a very rewarding career!

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