What Are Internal Medicine Physician Assistants And How Can You Become One?
First and foremost, internal medicine PAs are certified physician assistants who choose to work in the field of internal medicine, either as generalists or as specialists. As you may know already, internal medicine is one of the most rewarding and versatile medical specialties not just for physician assistants, but also for nurses and for licensed medical doctors and physicians, mainly due to the broad scope of practice and numerous opportunities to advance. A certified physician assistant who specializes in internal medicine should expect to get a median yearly salary that ranges between $85,000 and as much as $95,000 in the United States of America, although the exact salary is influenced by numerous factors like the amount of training and experience of these professionals, the work setting, the employer and such.
Internal medicine PAs provide in-depth medical care services to adults, services that range from educating the patient and his family on diet and lifestyle changes that must be taken in order to manage a specific illness and condition, managing chronic or acute conditions, performing minor surgical procedures under the supervision of an experienced and licensed medical doctor or physician and so forth.
If you have decided to become an internal medicine PA, then the first thing you need to do is to graduate from an ARC-PA approved physician assistant training program, to get either your Bachelor’s or your Master’s degree in the field and then to sit for the PANCE examination, which will help you achieve the PA-C designation or Physician Assistant-Certified designation. Only after you receive your initial certification and you apply for licensure you can move on to enrolling in a fellowship program or a residency postgraduate program in Internal Medicine. These postgraduate training programs in health sciences often last for 12 months (although, in some cases, they can last up to one year and a half, depending on the institution that offers the program).
The purpose of these postgraduate programs is to offer physician assistants who want to work in hospital internal medicine all the skills, knowledge and practical training they will so much need, later on. The curriculum is diversified and specially designed to benefit future internal medicine PAs on many different patients , and it emphasizes on the core competencies. In addition to this, all those who choose to enroll in this 12-month postgraduate training program for PAs in internal medicine will enjoy different medical specialty rotations that typically last between two and four weeks. At the end of the training program, all physician assistants will receive proof of graduation from the specialized internal medicine PA training and they will be able to apply for the second certification or the CAQ (acronym that stands for the Certificate of Added Credentials).
CAQ Requirements For Physician Assistants Who Want To Work In Internal Medicine
The CAQ has a series of strict requirements that all candidates must meet in order to be eligible for the second licensure in internal medicine. That being said, in addition to the 3000 hours of full time practical hands-on experience in the internal medicine specialty, all applicants must also show that they are able to apply all the skills and the knowledge they have acquired throughout the postgraduate internal medicine PA training program in the field of hospital medicine. These professionals must also provide written attestation from at least one supervising licensed physician who works in the field of internal medicine, and who has supervised the practice and the experience of the applicant over the past years.
It is also important for the future internal medicine PA to show that he or she can satisfy what is known as the Patient Case Requirement, which means that these professionals must be familiar with a set of common procedures such as intubation, ultrasonography, lumbar puncture, chest tube placement, paracentesis, vascular access, cardiac testing procedures such as stress or EKGs and so forth. It is also important for all physician assistants who want to pursue the CAQ in internal medicine to show that they have good communication skills, good diagnostic skills and decision making abilities, good leadership skills and management practice and so forth. If the patient managed to successfully meet all these CAQ requirements, then he or she will receive the Certification of Added Qualifications in the Internal Medicine subspecialty, which is valid for a period of 10 years. In order to maintain the certification active and valid, these professionals must log in at least 125 credits of Category 1 CME focused on internal medicine.