Tue 18 Jul, 2006 06:13 pm
What is the difference between an MD and a PA? PA's act like they should be respected like MD's, but I'm not sure I understand why. Are there any PA's on the board that can shed some light to the subject?
How long do PA's go to college?
Do PA's have malpractice insurance?
Why won't some insurance companies pay for a medical visit with a PA?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I'll only see a PA to get prescriptions renewed. They aren't doctors (at least not yet), and typically are used to take a load off the doctor, seeing patients with less complicated problems, like sprains and sore throats.
The PA's I've met seemed to be quite sensitive about the fact that they don't get the respect the MD's get - I'm not understanding why. Most people seem to do what you do and just see them for the simple things. I'm hoping someone will share more info.
Thanks for your input.
Put another way, if you took you car to the mechanic, would you want the receptionist to do the work?
True, I wouldn't want the receptionist to do the work.
A while back, before PA's were so common, I got them mixed up with the Nurse Practitioners.
There is a big difference in training and experience. PA's work under the purview of md's and see their foibles. They may be as bright but not have had the wherewithal in terms of access to schooling in the first place to qualify to get in to med school, the money to make it through even if they had scholarship help, or the sticktoitiveness to survive. It is a long haul, and post md training is also a long haul. I was a premed once, long ago, and don't resent the people that made it through. Though I have sympathy for people with doctorates in science who roll eyes at m.d.'s re getting batting eyes from the populace. Though batting eyes from the populace as a mode of obeisance has changed a bit.
My cousin's son was in PA training, and hurt his back, is doing something else now. He would have known a lot, and is a competent fellow; he was a paramedic earlier. Still, there is usually a knowledge difference in broad terms. However, in some specific situation, some may know more than a beginning intern.
A long time friend who I first met as an intern - now a retired chief of emergency who passed boards in psychiatry as well as ER medicine, if I remember correctly - said they were all saved in their rotation through cardiology when they were newly out of med school by the cardio ICU nurse. Not that there weren't residents and others above them, but that the nurse was the one who saved their respective asses, got them equilibrated fast.
Well, Registered Nurses often have good training, and the Nurse Practioners I've known were well regarded RN's before their NP training. My cousin's son, for example, knew much less than my nurse friend about medicine.
Well, this is all anecdotal. I'll leave it for people in the fields to talk about.
Different aspects of medicine have different competences, and respect to all from me for their savvy.
For donkey's years people have complained that doctors don't spend enough time with them.
The PA's can handle the explanations of medicine--talking, listening responses to the FAQ's.
I can read pamphlets and do research on the Internet--a lot of people can't PA's are essential if these people are going to be informed patients.
ossobucco, how long is PA school? Do they not have to have a pre-med degree?
I don't know, why don't you look it up on google? I doubt you have to have a premed degree to do that.
I see that so many times on the duscussion forums "Just google it"... when I, or the authors of other threads, want more than a definition.
Perhaps a Physician's Assistant will see this question and help you then.
I'm virtually certain "no" on the pre-med degree. I have a friend who is a PA. She graduated from college with some sort of a landscaping degree, then took a few weeks' worth of classes and became a PA. The impression I have from her stories is that the more narrow the specialty and the more experienced the PA, the more valuable he/she is. My friend works in a very narrow specialty and is very experienced and is seen as worth her weight in gold (and gets a pretty hefty salary, if not doctor-level).
I think that a new PA or one who is expected to know a lot (as in, a broad spectrum) would be clearly inferior to a doctor.
Hmmm, I'm developing the opinion that the PA position shouldn't even exist.
Well, if you had a PA that was very well aware of his/her limitations, then I'm sure you'd be comfortable seeing one - but are you comfortable paying the same amount for the visit as you would with the MD?
I've had 3 really horrid experiences with PA's, and I've grown very curious about their medical/education background.
Wow, nursing school is harder than that. I always felt so sorry for the nursing students at my university, because they had hard classes and had to have excellent grades - then again, I was glad that nurses had to learn to work that hard, ha ha.
Well, Phoenix, thank you for the info - I realise now why some doctors don't hire them at all, seeing them as a liability. If they know their limitations, I'm sure they are extremely helpful - but the PA culture in my area teaches them to argue with the MD's and expect to be treated like they ARE MD's. I'm glad to know they aren't like that everywhere.
I wonder if the requirements for PA's changed at some point recently? I won't swear by "a few weeks," but I think what this person told me was a lot less than two years -- all I'm certain of is that my reaction was, "that's all???"