The Role of a Physician Assistant

October 11, 2018

By Kevin Shinsako, PA-C and Sara Sarmast, PA-C

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a board-certified practitioner who collaborates with a physician to evaluate and treat patients in clinical and surgical settings. 

At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, our PAs play a critical role in the care of our patients. Our PAs increase accessibility to top orthopedic medicine through independent clinics, autonomous procedures, ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies, and prescribing medications. They are an essential component to the surgical process as well, coordinating pre and post-operative care in addition to being first surgical assistant.    

On surgery days, PAs are responsible the perioperative management of patients. As a direct line of communication with the patient, they are essential for making the patient and family comfortable with the surgical plan. PAs prescribe and manage medications, order and interpret labs and studies, set detailed plans of care including physical therapy (PT, home health nurses, family caregivers, etc.), as well as round on patients who have been admitted to the hospital. Intraoperatively, PAs are the first surgical assistant and are on hand from open to close of every surgery.

PAs work alongside in physician clinics, as well as conducting their own independent clinics. Here, they obtain a detailed history, perform physical exams, order and interpret diagnostic tests such as x-ray, MRI and CT. A PA can determine an appropriate conservative versus surgical treatment plan. If injections or other technical procedures are recommended, the PAs may also administer the treatment.

"I’ve personally enjoyed my time thus far working with the top orthopedic physicians in the world. Our unique collaboration helps provide the best possible care to every patient that visits our practice." - Kevin Shinsako, PA-C 

Aside from clinical and surgical duties, PAs are responsible for staying up to date with medical advances both within and outside the field of practice. PAs routinely attend conferences, meetings, journal-clubs, and hands-on seminars to comply with continuing medical education requirements.

A Physician Assistant in orthopedics increases accessibility to care and helps to ensure the cohesiveness of the team and provide continuity of care in order to give patients an excellent experience with their healthcare.