You may not know much about Physician Assistants but we are a graduate level degree with a license to practice medicine under the direct supervision of a physician.
A Physician Assistant (PA) is trained under the medical model- the same model that physicians are trained under. Many times, PA students are on the same rotations and have the same professors as the medical students. This is the biggest difference between Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. What separates us from a physician, aside from the fact that we work directly under their supervision, is that our goals are not only to treat the patient but to educate them as well.
Patients should feel comfortable with a PA for the above reason- we are trained similarly and we are always under the direct supervision of a physician. We are broadly trained to cover many specialties and to treat a variety of ailments and diseases. We are also trained to know our limits, meaning that we always have our supervising physician in contact at all times to assist, if needed. Our medical decision making is also closely monitored by our supervising physician- so the patient can feel comfortable knowing that, even though they did not physically see the physician, their care is still being assessed by them.
Having a physician assistant on staff allows us to extend the care of the physician. If the physician is busy, the patients can receive the same exact care from the physician assistant.
I enjoy being a Physician Assistant because of the rapport I develop with my patients. It is very fulfilling to help someone.