Physician Assistant Questions Bronchitis

Are physician assistants able to diagnose you without a physician?

I went to an urgent care the other day and realized that I was diagnosed with bronchitis by a physician assistant, and not by an MD. Are PAs able to diagnose without a doctor?

5 Answers

Yes! Physician assistants (PAs) typically work under the supervision of a licensed physician and operate within the scope of their practice as defined by state laws and regulations. PAs are highly trained healthcare professionals capable of performing many diagnostic and treatment functions both independently and in collaboration with physicians.

PAs are trained to take patient histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and develop treatment plans. The physician can review the PA's findings, and if necessary, provide guidance and oversight.

PAs are able to provide comprehensive and high-quality patient care alongside the physician. PAs can be proficient at conducting initial evaluations, gathering information, diagnosing and treating patients. They also play a crucial role in patient education, counseling, and follow-up care.

The specific scope of practice for PAs varies depending on the state and practice setting. Some states may grant PAs more autonomy, allowing them to have greater involvement in the diagnostic process. However, even in states with more autonomous practice regulations, there are still collaborative relationships with supervising physicians.

Yes, physician assistants can conduct history & physical exams, diagnose, decide treatment, and write prescriptions. Most PAs diagnose and treat patients without direct guidance from their supervising physician. PAs go to school for anywhere from 6-7.5 years, compared to the 8 years of a physician. The biggest difference is that the physician goes to do a residency to ultra-specialize in their speciality whereas PAs are versatile and learn a broad base of knowledge so PAs can go anywhere.
The physician is there for guidance and generally more complicated cases that PAs might have questions on, but most PAs practice with some sense of autonomy.

Rebekah A Work
Physician assistants have been trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat any diseases. Please rest assured that if you are treated by a PA or NP, you are in good hands.
Depending on the state, it may vary. Usually, there should be a physician on the premises.