ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCES

B.Sc Physician Assistant

History / Background

About four decades ago in the United States, physicians and educators recognized there was a shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians. To expand the delivery of quality medical care, Dr.Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina started the first Physician Assistant (PA) programme in the year 1960.He selected Navy corpsmen who received considerable medical training during their military service and during the war in Vietnam. He based the curriculum of the PA programme on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II. Today, forty-eight states in the US allow PAs to write and sign prescriptions without a physician's signature.

In India, the Physician Assistant program was started by Dr. K. M Cherian, the renowned Cardiac Surgeon in 1992 at the Madras Medical Mission in Chennai. Ever since, the Physician Assistant program has grown in scope and recognition. Today, most major Health Universities in India offer the Physician Assistant program as a 4 year course.

Description

A Physician Assistant is a skilled healthcare professional who is formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive health care services in virtually all medical specialties, as delegated by a physician. Working as a member of a health care team, a Physician Assistant takes medical histories, initial examination of the patients, does inpatient rounds in the hospital, orders laboratory tests and x-rays and assists the doctors for diagnosis and treatment. A Physician Assistant is also capable of performing procedures and handling minor injuries by suturing, splinting and casting.

Physician Assistants work in different departments such as Out-Patient wing, Inpatient wards, Operation theater, Catheterization Labs, Coronary Care Units, Intensive Care Units, Organ Transplant units, Reproductive Medicine and Orthopaedics & Trauma care.

Scope / Opportunities

The Physician Assistant Course is presently run at various institutions all over the country. The degree is awarded by major Health Sciences Universities such as the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Sri Venkateswara University, Rajiv Gandhi Health Sciences University, Manipal University etc. The Course is recognized by the University Grants Commission. Indian Association of Physician Assistants is the professional organization that offers networking opportunities for graduating Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistants are in great demand in corporate & private hospitals all over the country. Physician Assistants are presently employed in top medical institutions like Madras Medical Mission (Chennai), SIMS Hospitals (Chennai), Global Hospitals (Chennai), Narayana Hrudalaya (Bengaluru).

A Physician Assistant is considered a step-down doctor and hence the role of a Physician Assistant is considered prestigious. For those who are not able to get a medical degree, becoming a Physician Assistant can be very fulfilling and prestigious. In fact, in the United States & Canada, Physicians Assistants can write prescriptions and practice independently. The day is not far-off when such a scenario emerges in India.

Apart from working in clinical settings, Physician Assistants get placements in medical software institutions, pharmaceutical industry and organizations developing and marketing sophisticated medical devices, medical tourism, and medical insurance. Besides, they will be appointed as coordinators for various clinical trials.

Opportunities abound abroad for Physician Assistants both in the Gulf Region and in United States / Canada.

Curriculum

The curriculum covers most subjects generally taught to MBBS students in medical colleges and includes Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Medicine & Surgery.

Course Duration

3 years + 1 year of Internship

Eligibility

Pass in + 2 with 40 % minimum marks in Physics, Chemistry & Biology.

Selection Procedure

Applicants will be short-listed and successful candidates invited for a personal interview. Selection of candidates will be based on +2 marks and performance in the personal interview.