PA Day in South Dakota is Oct. 6

PA Day in South Dakota is Oct. 6 Governor Bill Janklow has declared Oct. 6 as PA Day in South Dakota.

This national and statewide day of recognition is intended to provide physician assistants with the opportunity to educate the public about their role in our health care delivery system.

Changes in the delivery of health care in the United States have placed new burdens on patients. In the past, people were commonly treated by physicians.

Today consumers may find themselves confused by the variety of health care providers in a clinic. One profession that has become a recognized member of the medical team is the physician assistant.

PAs as they are commonly called, are licensed medical professionals who practice medicine with the supervision of physicians, providing patient care services that would otherwise be performed by physicians.

As part of their comprehensive services, PAs take medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret lab tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, suture lacerations, assist in surgery and prescribe medications.

Physician assistants are employed by solo physicians, group practices and hospitals. The largest segment of physician assistants, more than 47 percent, practice family and internal medicine. PAs provide health care services where there is a lack of physicians, such as the rural and underserved areas of South Dakota.

In the mid-1960s, a group of physicians and medical educators in North Carolina recognized the need to produce more medical care providers who would practice in underserved communities. Their solution was to develop a new profession of health care professionals who would team up with physicians.

The curriculum for the first class of physician assistants was based in part on the "fast-track training program for physicians used during World War II.

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