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The Physicians Assistants (PA) program was something that developed from the U.S. Army Combat Medic Program, as did the Emergency Medical Technician program; both started in the 1970ís. But there are various medical tracks, emergency medicine, adult care, pediatrics, etc for the PA program, and a person can earn a PA credential from a two-year Associate Degree Program, four-year Bachelor Degree program, Masters Degree or Doctorate Degree program, just like Registered Nurses are credentialed at various degree levels. The difference is that a PA usually does outpatient care only, unlike an RN. PAís generally work in clinics that serve their medical track. The more education a PA has the more they are allowed to do, just like an RN. The difference between a Physicianís Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner is that a Nurse Practitioner requires a Masters Degree. You can not be a Nurse Practitioner without having a Masters Degree in Nursing, and then you take the Nurse Practitioner track, which also has its specialties; Adult Care Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, etc. They may even have some PAís and NPís who pursue a generalist, eclectic, or mixed specialty track. But both of these programs were outgrowths of the combat medic programs in the U.S. military. I was a combat medic in Vietnam and that is how I know this information. I am not sure about the licensing question; there are allot of nurses who work while taking prescribed meds for various disorders, so I would think that the same applies to PA's. It depends on the severity of the disorder, whether it is required to disclose such to an employer, and the licensing laws in your State.

Here is the U.S. Department of Labor link on the occupation of Physicians Assistant and its requirements, etc.


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