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About the Surgical PA

According to the AAPA, there are more than 90,000 PAs in clinical practice alone. The AASPA represents the 25,000 PAs who work in a surgical environment.

Surgical physician assistants (PAs) are highly skilled clinicians who have received didactic and clinical training to function in all areas of the peri-operative environment, including pre-admission, testing, intra-operative first assisting, PACU care, SICU care, step-down unit, outpatient clinic, office practice and even home care.

Surgical PAs should not be confused with medical assistants, who perform routine clinical and clerical tasks. Surgical PAs handle many of the functions of a fully trained doctor, in the absence of a doctor, and exercise autonomy in medical decision-making. All PAs work under the ultimate supervision of a licensed physician, who is responsible for all decisions made regarding patient care.

The PA who specializes in surgery assistance will have extensive knowledge of surgical procedure as well as specific areas of healthcare studies. The primary role of the surgical PA is to assist licensed physicians in patient surgery. However, their involvement from initial patient assessment to post-surgery follow-up care enables surgical PAs to offer excellent continuity of patient care.

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