In today’s world, doctors aren’t the only medical professionals diagnosing and treating patients. First of all, there aren’t nearly enough doctors to care for the millions of Americans who need care. So, in most medical offices and hospitals, you’ll find teams of PAs, MDs, NPs and DOs providing high levels of care. Team-based care means responsibilities are shared among the different team members, and different focuses and skill sets mean a broader perspective of care for the patient.
Team-based care has advantages for clinicians and patients:
- Increases access to care
- Shorter wait times
- Streamlines and expedites care
- Coordinates care across the team
- Helps control costs
- Offers a broader range of medical careers
The role of the physician assistant (PA)
A physician assistant is educated at a master’s degree level. After completing their undergraduate degree, prospective PAs attend accredited training programs which last about 27 months. These programs are taught using the medical model, which is the same technique used to train physicians.
In most cases, PA students already have professional experience in or related to the medical field. PA programs last about 27 months, and PAs are trained the same way physicians are. Physician assistants are nationally certified, and state licensed and are qualified to provide a wide range of health care services in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery and other medical specialties and services.
The role of the nurse practitioner (NP)
Nurse practitioners are highly educated professionals who possess advanced knowledge in areas to promote patient safety, nursing principles and regulatory compliance. Due to their advanced knowledge and clinical experience, NPs can perform many duties that RNs cannot. NPs can also choose an area of specialization, from pediatrics to oncology to emergency medicine and more.
Both PAs and NPs are qualified to:
- Obtain patient history and perform physical exams
- Diagnose and treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions
- Order tests and interpret results
- Develop treatment plans
- Prescribe medications
- Perform minor surgical procedures and assist with major surgeries
- Serve as Primary Care providers
The role of the doctor of osteopathy (DO)
Osteopathic medicine is a "whole person" approach to medicine—treating the entire person rather than just the symptoms. With a focus on preventive health care, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but help prevent it, too. Today, U.S. osteopathic physicians (DOs) are fully licensed, patient-centered medical doctors. They have the same training as regular medical doctors and have full medical practice rights throughout the United States and in 44 countries abroad.
The role of the MD
The physician provides continuous care for the patient while in the hospital or ambulatory setting. They are generally the captain of the medical team and will determine the proper diagnosis and overall course of treatment.
The physician works collaboratively with the healthcare team to provide optimal care. This may include providing referrals to other practitioners or services that the patient may need. They provide reports and updates of patient’s condition and needs to other services such as physical therapy, home health services, and other specialists. The physician also provides education to patients, families, and support staff as it relates to the patient condition, diagnosis and treatment. The physician will offer resources with information and research that patients can use to make informed decisions about their treatment plan.
At urgent care all of our MD/DO/PA/NPs are Emergency medicine trained and certified and fully capable of attending to your medical needs. We hire only the best!