The Surgical PA

The surgical physician assistant profession is show to be one of the top 3 highest paid physician assistant specialties, in a career that shows no sign of slowing in the near future, as according the The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment growth for PA’s is expected to grow substantially faster than that of the average rate for all other occupations, that being 39 percent growth between the 10 year time frame of 2008 to 2018. This is the perfect time to become a surgical PA which is one of the highest demanded PA specialties which allows those applying for jobs to negotiate higher salaries, as well as often times comes with excellent benefits like insurance, a 401K, profit sharing, retirement bonuses and more.

Steps To Becoming A Surgical Physician Assistant

In order to become a physician assistant in the surgical field, the steps one must take are:

  • Complete a PA program that offers a degree in physician assistant studies or a degree similar, which again this course must be ARC-PA certified. These programs usually require that you have a cumulate GPA of a 3.0 or higher as well as things like letters or recommendation and certain prerequisite courses among others.
  • The next step after completion of a PA program as well as passing the PANCE test.
  • Completion of a post-graduate surgical residency. These courses usually last around a year and teach surgical knowledge through various different teaching methods like lectures, seminars, labs as well as clinical training in the surgery specialty near the end of the course.
  • Apply for your state to grant you licensure.

Once the surgical residency is completed, then the graduate is able to enter the surgical physician assistant field where they are able to do about 70 to 80 percent of the job tasks that the head physician does.

Surgical Specialty Job Description

As far as the physician assistant job description goes, a basic overview is one who assists the main physician during patient surgeries. The surgical PA profession is one of the multiple different physician assistant specialties, but there are also specialties or a surgical PA. Some of these specialties consist of:

  • Burn Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Urology
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Reconstructive
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Surgery for the Head and Neck
The above specialties will all have different job descriptions being that they are dealing with different aspects of patient surgery. As far as the general overview of the job duties of a surgical PA, they can include:
  • Administering physical examinations as well as gathering patient histories.
  • Helping patients when it comes the time before surgery, during as well as after surgery.
  • Ordering different lab tests as well as certain medical equipment and supplies.
  • Prescribing medication to patients. (This is usually under the supervision of the physician, but there are a small number of states that still do not allow PA’s to prescribe medication yet).
  • Helping patients with putting on dressings.
  • At times overseeing and monitoring the work of other health care technicians.
  • Doing patient rounds where the surgical physician assistant checks on patients after the completion of their surgery.