Our Advanced Practice Provider Team: The Physician Assistant
What is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.
They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico.
What can a Physician Assistant Do?
PAs can: take your medical history, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, counsel on preventive care, assist in surgery, write prescriptions, make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. Often, the PAs’ specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their level of experience, their specialty and state laws.
How are PAs educated and trained?
Most programs are approximately 26 months (3 academic years) and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. Most programs also require students to have about three years of healthcare training and experience.
Students take courses in basic sciences, behavioral sciences and clinical medicine across subjects such as anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, physiology and more. They then complete a total of more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.
In order to maintain certification, PAs must: complete a recertification exam every 10 years and complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every 2 years. The “PA-C” after a PA’s name means they are currently certified.
Our Advanced Practice Provider Team: The Advanced Practice Nurse
What is an Advanced Practice Nurse?
Advance Practice Nurses (or APN) are divided into four categories: Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Midwives, & Nurse Anesthetists. These are nationally certified and state-licensed professionals who have the right to practice autonomously with prescriptive authority in the state of Oklahoma.
OHI employs both Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. The predominant difference is with the focus on their education with one track being specific to adults, acute care, or family practice.
What can an Advanced Practice Nurse Do?
APNs can: take your medical history, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, counsel on preventive care, coordinate services, write prescriptions, make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. Often, the APNs’ specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their level of experience, their specialty and state laws.
How are APNs educated and trained?
APNs' programs are Masters' of Science and usually are populated by baccalaureate prepared nurses in search of expanding their knowledge and abilities. The programs involve a mixture of clinical rotations as well as a core curriculum involving anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, mathematics, and a mixture of social sciences to expand their skills and knowledge base to allow them to provide evidence-based medicine following nationally recognized guidelines to achieve optimal patient outcomes.
In order to maintain licensure, APNs must complete 45 hours on ongoing general medical education and those with prescriptive authority are required for 15 more hours of ongoing medical education specific to pharmacology.
National recertification requirements vary depending on which certifying body is used. It can involve continuing education, preceptorship and examinations.