PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS IN CANADA
There are only four provinces in Canada that currently employ Physician Assistants in their health care systems (Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario & New Brunswick) but they are very common in the military. In fact, many individuals are trained through the Canadian Armed Forces, which uses physician assistants on its bases, in the field and on its ships and submarines.
Physician Assistants (PA) are highly skilled health care professionals educated in the medical model who practice medicine. Physician assistants can train at one of three programs in Canada:
• The University of Manitoba
• The University of Toronto
• McMaster University in Hamilton
All Canadian PA Programs require you to be a Canadian Citizens or Permanent Resident of Canada before you can consider applying. If you live outside of Canada, the same rules apply, although there are American PA programs that do accept international students.
PAs graduate from a Baccalaureate or Master’s Degree program that may be affiliated with a medical school and practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician within a patient-centred health care team.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will pay successful recruits to complete a recognized Canadian University Physician Assistant program. This program covers educational expenses, including books, instruments, supplies, student fees, registration costs and tuition fees for the two year education program. Students already enrolled in a recognized Canadian University Bachelor of Science Physician Assistant program may also be eligible for this training plan.
PAs can work in any clinic setting to extend physician services, complement existing services and aid in improving patient access to health care.
• PAs conduct histories, physical examinations, order and interpret investigations, perform diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, diagnose and treat illnesses, and educate patients on treatment options and counsel on preventative health
• PAs assist in surgery, prescribe medications, and perform procedures that fall within their scope of training and experience, as long as it falls within the scope of their supervising physician
• A PA’s practice mirrors that of their supervising physician
• PAs work to extend physician services and can work autonomously, but are not independent practitioners
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