What Is a Primary Care Assistant?

L.K. Blackburn
L.K. Blackburn
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Today, there are many different types of doctor's and doctor's offices available to anyone who feels ill or who has suffered an injury. In an attempt to streamline the medical process and help people find doctors and treatment faster, many regional health care systems and insurance companies use primary care doctors to ensure patients efficiently get well and stay healthy. A primary car assistant works with a primary care doctor to see patients and diagnose problems. Depending upon regional regulations and certification standards, a primary care assistant may work in tandem with a doctor or they may be able to treat illnesses and prescribe medication.

Typically, a primary care doctor is the first doctor patients see when they notice they may be sick. Depending on the region, a primary care doctor can be assigned to patients by an insurance company or by the regional government. The primary care physician's responsibility to the patient is to attempt to diagnose problems and treat the illness or injury if they are able to do so within the office. If a referral to a specialist is necessary, the primary care doctor connects the patient with an in-network doctor that can attempt to provide them with assistance.

Within the office of a primary care doctor, there are also nurses and assistants working to help patients. A primary care assistant can be a nurse, or it can be a specially trained doctor's assistant who receives additional education and clinical experience prior to licensing. Primary care has not always existed, it is field that came about due to a changing medical and insurance environment. The role of a primary care assistant is to help a doctor see patients throughout the day. Another name for a primary care assistant is a physician's assistant.

A primary care assistant's job duties change depending upon regional regulations and standards. Some areas allow a primary care assistant to prescribe medicine, while others must always work under physician supervision. Doctors can choose to allow a primary care assistant to diagnose patients, while the doctor then decides upon a treatment for the problem.

To become an assistant in primary care, an individual can complete a degree at a number of university offered physician's assistant programs. In order to enter programs of this type, a student typically needs an undergraduate degree. Entry into the program may be competitive, and often requires a lengthy application process similar to that of medical school.

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