What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?


Physician Assistants (PAs) or Associates, as they are also called, are members of the medical profession who are educated in a Medical School to work in collaboration with a registered medical practitioner (Doctor or Physician).

PAs augment and extend the services traditionally provided by a Doctor/Physician, providing primary healthcare services to patients with an overall aim of increasing access to healthcare for all Australians.

Trained as generalists, therefore able to work in any medical discipline, PAs practice delegated medicine and are able to perform patient examination, order and interpret tests and imaging, diagnose, order treatment, formulate management plans and review patients, assist in surgery, perform minor surgical procedures as required, and refer to specialists.

PAs do not need direct supervision and can work independently of their collaborative medical practitioner. Their scope of practice is determined by the supervising Doctor/Physician and the PA and is flexible and expansive, determined by rapport built over time.

Note: The word “Assistant” does not reflect the independent practice of a PA and many advocate the word “Assistant” should be replaced with “Associate”.