What Is An Emergency Department Physician Assistant?
Just as the name implies, an emergency department PA is basically a physician assistant who is trained to work in the emergency room, usually that of big hospitals. These health care providers work alongside skilled, licensed physicians and they often take a lot of the workload, which is why emergency department PAs are very appreciated these days. A physician assistant who works in the emergency department is allowed to do almost the same medical tasks as a licensed physician, which is why these professionals are particularly appreciated during very busy shifts when licensed physicians have too many cases to deal with at once.
Nonetheless, although the emergency room physician assistant is allowed to prescribe medications, to diagnose patients and to treat ailments, it is important to say that each state hospital has its own rules about what the PA can and cannot do in its emergency department. Having said that, if you have decided to become an emergency room physician assistant, then you should know that the training for this stressful and demanding yet highly rewarding career should start in high school, where every student should get a deeper insight in math, chemistry and biology before moving on to applying for a Bachelor’s Degree program. Having said that, most emergency room PAs nowadays have either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in health science or any relevant field to this profession. After graduating from the four or six-year training program, the physician assistants must take the NCCPA-administered PANCE examination, or the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, which will lead to the designation of PA-C, or Physician Assistant-Certified.
Only after becoming certified and fully licensed can the physician assistant consider specialty training in the emergency department and apply for the CAQ. Having said that, most of the physician assistants who want to work as emergency department PAs opt for a residency training, which typically lasts between 12 and 18 months and which is often offered by large state hospitals. These residency trainings for future emergency department PAs will benefit the physician assistants on many different levels – not only do these professionals get to receive in-depth practical, hands-on experience, but they will also get the chance to work under the close supervision of a licensed emergency room physician, and they will also have enough time to get used to the fast pace that is very common in the emergency department of every hospital.
Besides, the good news is that these residency programs often offer their residents some paid time off as well. The emergency department PA residency programs aim to enhance the medical knowledge and set of skills of currently certified physician assistants in the field of emergency medicine – the training commonly takes place in inpatient clinics, outpatient clinics, the emergency department of large hospitals, intensive care units and, in some cases, even in the operating room where the certified physician assistant gets to work alongside licensed physicians.
How To Gain The Emergency Department PA CAQ
After finishing the residency/specialty training program, it is important for all certified PAs to consider pursuing their emergency medicine CAQ, or emergency medicine added qualifications. The eligibility requirements all future emergency room physician assistants must meet are strict: these professionals must have 18 moths of full time practice in an emergency medicine setting or at least 3,000 hours of practical experience in the field. In addition to this, all the candidates who want to apply for the emergency medicine CAQ must also submit proof that they have completed at least 150 credits of category 1 CME over the past six years, in the emergency practice field.
These required CME credits must also include the completion of an ACLS course, or Advanced Cardiac Life Support course. One of the benefits of completing these continuing medical education courses is the fact that it allows the certified physician assistant to also maintain his or her PA-C credential active and valid. After meeting all the core requirements for the emergency medicine added qualifications, the candidates can pass the final examination. These professionals must also submit proof that they have completed an in-depth and comprehensive emergency medicine course and that they have completed the Airway Course, the Advanced Trauma Life Support as well as the Advanced Pediatric Life Support course.