Competencies of the Physician Assistant Profession
The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)_and the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) created a document which outlines the Competencies of the Physician Assistant Profession. Educated in the medical model, a PA is defined by the AAPA as "Medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient's principal health care provider." The collaborative nature of practice between PAs and physicians as well as other healthcare providers, creates an interprofessional health care team dedicated equally to:
- increasing accessibility to high quality health care,
- providing comprehensive health care services,
- maintaining an atmosphere of caring and trust between the patient, the family, and the health care team, and
- improving the continuity of patient care within the health care system.
The PA is distinguished from other health care professionals by education as a generalist; breadth of clinical knowledge; the extent to which PAs are given decision-making authority regarding patient care, diagnosis, and treatment; and by the depth of clinical experience.