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What is an Orthopedic PA?

A Physician Assistant – or PA – is a full-fledged medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. 

A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. These highly trained professionals perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, prescribe medications, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes.

For orthopedics and all specialties, PA educational programs are modeled on the medical school curriculum, with a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. The PA course of study is rigorous and intense. The average length of a PA education program is 27 months beyond a bachelor’s level education.

In addition, PAs also complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, with an emphasis on primary care in ambulatory clinics, physician offices and acute or long-term care facilities. Rotations include family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine and psychiatry.

Practicing PAs participate in lifelong learning. In order to maintain national certification, a PA must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years.

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