What's up guys, I'm Ferrari Saint Paul, and today I'm checking up on what it's like to be a physician assistant. Are you ready for this? We're following Dr. Michael Funk [Assumed spelling] who has spent his career treating patients as a physician's assistant.
Call this our procedure room. And actually, I do check ups in here also. I do minor surgical procedures in here.
What kind of surgical procedures, like removing a mole or something maybe?
I can do that, we do a lot of incision and drainage of abscesses, and nasty, stinking things like that.
Physician assistants practice medicine under the supervision of doctors and surgeons. They go to lab tests and diagnosis patients.
We can do anything that a physician can do, basically. Anything that a physician feels that we are knowledgeable and trained to do, we can do.
Today I'm getting a routine check up.
We do a physical exam on a person, we like to start at the head and work our way down. Okay, so the first thing we would do is look in your eyes. Okay? Okay, and then -- I'm going -- one of the coolest things you'll ever do is look in the back of somebody's eye. It's always a -- when students first do this, it's like, oh my God.
Now I have to do it.
It's time to put my skills to the test. That is so cool. Dr. Funk says about 60% of PAs work in primary care specialties, like general and family medicine. He says the other 40% work in [Inaudible] specialties, like surgery and orthopedics. So what kind of training did you go through before this?
Well, as -- to be a physician assistant you have to have some prerequisites, okay? So to get into the school you have to have anatomy and physiology and organic chemistry and general chemistry. And it is a competitive program also.
Physician assistant programs typically last two years. After that, you'll need to pass a national exam to get your license.
The main difference between being a physician assistant and being a doctor, is that doctors go through residency training. Basically our training is on the job. So we are, you know, we kind of joke that we are life time residents, we never graduate from residency, we are always in training.
You will have a better chance of landing a physician assistant job if you've had experience working in the field.
What would your experience be, like, how would you --
I worked as a phlebotomist. I became an emergency medical technician, first of all. Then I got a job in a hospital.
Physician assistants who work in hospitals may have to work weekends and night shifts, and may be on call. Those who work in clinics tend to have a 40 hour work week.
Medicine, to be honest with you, is a dirty, nasty job. We deal with all kinds of bodily fluids and you know, stuff that most people don't want to have to ever deal with.
If you've got the strong stomach needed to be a physician assistant, the pay is very rewarding.
Starting salaries average around $75,000
Dr. Funk says to be a successful physician assistant, you'll need to be able to work under pressure.
You have to learn to deal with people who are not so happy and nasty and mean and angry. People who get into medicine do it because they want to help people. They want to -- they want to do good for people.
If you can see yourself in Dr. Funk's shoes, you might just have found your career.