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American History of the Physician Assistant Essay

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One of the fastest growing fields in America is that of the physician assistant profession. Physician assistants are medical professionals who provide diagnostic and preventative health care services under the supervision of doctors. Forbes magazine recently listed physician assistants as the fourth fastest growing profession in the United States. Although the profession is currently getting a wealth of attention, the idea of physician assistants has been around for centuries. More recently due to the shortage of physicians, there has been an increased need for physician assistants. We find it important to explore and understand the history of the profession and how it has evolved in order to understand the future direction of the profession.
While the concept of the profession began in the 17th century, our paper will focus more on the contemporary American history starting in the 1940s. Dr. Amos Johnson, a founder of the American Board of Family Practice, hired a hospital orderly named Henry Treadwell to assist in the daily activities of his office. Dr. Johnson’s practice in Garland, North Carolina, initiated the spread of the physician assistant model across the state. Dr. Eugene Stead and his general medicine residents at Duke University took interest in this idea. In 1942, due to the lack of adequate medical care during World War II, Dr. Stead created a three year medical doctorate fast-track program. This sparked the idea that perhaps one day he could implement a similar program to alleviate the physician shortage in the United States.
Dr. Stead’s first attempt at a condensed medical program was in 1957. While working with one of his nurses, Thelma Ingles, Dr. Stead attempted to establish a master’s level degree for nur...


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...ase in physician assistant jobs from 2006 to 2016. As physician assistant students we are excited and hopeful for our significant role in the future of healthcare.



Works Cited

American Academy of Physician Assistants. (n.d.). AAPA - Our History. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from American Academy of Physician Assistants: http://aapa.org/about-pas/our-history
Duke University Meical Center. (2004). Physician Assistant History Center - Timeline. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from Physician Assistant History Center: http://www.pahx.org/timeline.html
Mark Moran, P.-C. (2011, May 26). History & Current Trends of the PA Profession Lecture. Harrogate , TN, United States of America.
Physician Assistant Education Association. (n.d.). What is a PA? Retrieved June 17, 2011, from Physician Assistant Education Association: http://www.paeaonline.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/197/pid/197



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