According to the American Burn Association, more than 2 million thermal injuries occur each year. Of this number, about 75,000 require hospitalization and 14,000 of these injuries result in death. As the largest organ in our body, disruption of the skin layer can result in severe physical and physiologic consequences.
PAs working in Burn Surgery usually practice in similar practice areas as the supervising burn surgeon. This can include the acute resuscitation period (including involvement on the trauma or burn team), intra-operative management (first assisting), post-resuscitation, intensive care and long-term follow-up.
The William Randolph Hurst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital is well known as one of the busiest burn centers in the world. In that institution, PAs are employed in the peri-operative environment (surgical first assisting) as well managing care on the step-down unit.
Qualifications may include numerous years of physician assistant practice and a master degree in a related field.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Assesses and monitors burn injury
- Prescribes topical agents (depending on the supervising surgeon and individual institution) such as Mafenide, silver sulfadiazine, and others, in either a closed method or exposure therapy
- Works with grafts, Xenografts, Biobrane, homografts, etc., in the intra-operative environment
- Focuses on restoration and maintenance of normal physiologic function and the control of infection in the critical care setting