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What is the difference between a Dr. and a Physicians Assistant?

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:38 PM
Original message
What is the difference between a Dr. and a Physicians Assistant?
I just received a letter from my healthcare facility announcing the addition of XXXXX, Physicians Assistant to their staff. She has a Master of Medical Science degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

I never heard of a Master of Medical Science degree?

What will this new staff member be able to do v/s what will still have to be referred to the 2 Drs?
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Demit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. One goes to med school for a gazillion years and the other one doesn't?
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. That's The Best Explanation...
I guess who I would see would depend on the severity of my illness .....
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Docs are prepared by four years of science heavy undergrad school
followed by four years of medical school, followed by internship and residency and possibly specialized residency on top of that.

Physician assistants can major in anything in their first four years. Once they have that baccalaureate, they can slide into grad school for an intense medical education and emerge two years later as Physician Assistants.

Nurse Practitioners have a baccalaurate degree in nursing followed by two years of grad school in a nursing specialty, or six years combined science and medical education.

Physician assistants are paid more than nurse practitioners with less overall medical education. It's in the terminology.
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seriousstan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. Try this
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. MD has an MD, DO has an Ostepathy Degree, PA has a RN and PA cert
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
4. If you're really not feeling that well, insist on seeing a doctor
A PA misdiagnosed me and I almost ended up having my appendix removed. I was in severe pain the region near my appendix but I had none of the normal symptoms one would get if he/she had appendicitis. She pressed on that region which caused severe pain and the held her hand down for what seemed like several minutes. I was screaming in torture. Ironically - that is NOT appendicitis. Appendicitis hurts when you remove the pressure from that spot, but when she stop pressing - it stopped hurting.

I probably did need to go to the ER to find out what was going on, but it wasn't until 24 hours later when the surgeon came in to prep me for my surgery that he said he really didn't think it was my appendix. That was the first fully licensed doctor (I had seen a PA, an ER PA and an Intern and they all wanted to open me up). 24 hours of fluids and heavy antibiotics and it turned out to be an infection. Funny thing is, I kept telling all these non-doctors I didn't think it was my appendix. When a doctor finally saw me, he told me it really wasn't. I had acute colitis, probably from something I ate.

But if I just need to see someone because I have a cold or any other everyday issue where you pretty much know what it is and just need a prescription for the good stuff - PAs along with Nurse Practitioners will do just fine. But don't let them diagnose you for the serious stuff!!!
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Left Is Write Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I was misdiagnosed by a PA also.
I had a severe, advanced kidney infection that was misdiagnosed as "the flu." He rehydrated me and prescribed Phenergan for nausea. That was at Urgent Care, and there was no MD there at that time of the night. Three days later I was back at UC again and saw a different PA who realized I did not have the flu. She referred me to the ER, where I was again misdiagnosed, this time by an MD. I made one more trip to the ER the next night and then a trip to a surgeon the day after that - it was the SURGEON who finally guessed at a kidney infection and sent me back to my primary care MD for testing. The surgeon also expressed surprise that I was released from the ER in the condition I was in.

What a nightmare, but plenty of blame to go around.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
7. about 10 years of training n/t
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
9. A physician is someone who
I will make an appointment with and wait until I can see. A physicans assistant is someone I walk out on. They are the yes men in medicine. The nurse is an assistant and the check on the physician and has his/her own special skills. The PA went to school to learn to say yes Dr. to be called Dr. themselves and to know little more than to do a basic exam at the same price to you as the Dr. but then you have to have the Dr. assess you from the PA report. Not for me.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. Means double medical bills. We have a PA as sole medical provider in town
He has to call and consult a real MD a good deal of the time. He bills and the MD bills. Nice idea but it turns into a racket.

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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
11. I perfer some PA's over some MD's
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BoogDoc7 Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. My understanding...
PA's are good for the easy stuff - colds, general checkups, that sort of thing. If you have something that may be complicated, see a doctor.

And make sure that you're billed properly - for either an MD or a PA. They're a bit different, and should cost differently.
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shelley806 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. A bit different? Yeah, like 10 to 12 YEARS of higher education and
training different.
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BoogDoc7 Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. True...
But like I said, all that training qualifies doctors to make the tougher decisions and be supervisors.

It is also my understanding that PA's and such actually get better trained in pharmaceuticals, but I could be wrong.
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