16 Jun
Pros of Seeing a Physician's Assistant (PA) vs. a Doctor
 Cons of Seeing a Physician's Assistant (PA) vs. a Doctor
Similar treatments for common conditions and procedures Paid the same amount, but with less schooling. 
Often easier to get an appointment with a PACompanies hire more Physician's Assistants
Often PA's connect better with patientsDoctors get more of the complicated cases
PA's learn the basics, while doctor's learn more but retain about 25% of thatSometimes you will feel like you are trying to convince a PA that there really is a problem

Recently at my husbands work, three doctors lost their jobs and were replaced with Physician's Assistants. What are the pros and cons of visiting a Physician's Assistant vs a Doctor? 

Pros of Seeing a Physician's Assistant (PA) vs. a Doctor

  1.  Most common conditions and procedures treated/performed by a PA result in equal outcomes as treatment from an MD/DO. 
  2. It is easier to get into a Physician's Assistant than it is to see a Doctor most times. 
  3. Ultimately, a lot of medical care comes down to how well you connect with your provider, and PAs can be just as good, if not better at times with connecting to their patients and being more relatable.
  4. Many Doctors I have worked with agree that Medical School can tend to be overkill on how much they teach you. Most Physicians say they only remember about 25% of what they were taught, and less than that is actually applicable to their practice. With less schooling (less than half of what med school is) PAs learn only what is truly necessary to treat their patients.

Cons of Seeing a Physician Assistant (PA) vs. a Doctor

  1. You are paying the same amount for less education. A doctor has gone to school for 2 years of studying, 2 years of rotations, 3-7 years of residency, and sometimes 2 plus years of fellowship. This equals more experience and knowledge as a doctor from the get-go. PA school is only 2-3 years total and then straight to work for them where they are trained on the job.
  2. Companies are hiring more Physician Assistance because they are cheaper than a doctor. So there are fewer doctors to get in and see. Which is so frustrating!
  3. Doctors tend to take on the more complicated patient cases, meaning unless you have some real problems, you might be stuck without choosing who to see. 
  4. On the flip side, if you do have serious problems, you'll have to spend several visits trying to convince the PA that you really do need to see the Doctor. This means a lot of wasted time and money just to get the care you need.
  5. This one was a personal experience of mine. I had knee pain for a year anytime I jumped or lifted weights and finally decided to go to the Doctor. As a poor college student without insurance, the only place I could afford was the free school clinic on campus where I was seen by a PA. Without even allowing me to get an X-ray because it would be "too expensive and probably wouldn't show anything." The PA told me that I was just born this way and would always have knee pain. When I asked him how I could get rid of the pain to play basketball (one of my all-time favorite pastimes). He told me to just not do anything that would cause pain, or in other words, just stop playing altogether. Unsatisfied with his advice, I went to see a DO sports med doctor. Their X-rays were done, and a proper exam. He found my groin muscles were too weak compared to my outside (lateral) quad muscles pulling my kneecaps out of alignment. With about a month of directed exercises, I have not had any pain since! There, wall-of-china-rant over!

"Our goal is to help the world make decisions with a list of Pros and Cons. We invite all to add to our lists to help others make the most educated decision possible. We are all in this world together to help each other and learn from what others have learned from their lives journey." - Pros and Cons Team

Written By: Kevin 

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