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The Role of Physician Assistants at Newport Orthopedic Institute

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At Newport Orthopedic Institute, our physician assistants (PAs) provide medical care under the supervision of either an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine doctor or a pain medicine specialist to provide the highest level of surgical and nonsurgical care for patients.

Our extensively trained and formally certified PAs make it possible for orthopedists to transfer much of their nonsurgical work, thus giving the surgeon more time for the operating room. Physician assistants are involved in patient care at every level, including performing physical exams; taking medical histories; diagnosing and treating bone, joint, and muscle injuries and conditions; ordering and interpreting labs and diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays and MRI scans; prescribing medications; assisting during orthopedic surgeries; and participating in postoperative care.

And perhaps most importantly, our PAs are trained to recognize when patients need the attention of the supervising doctor or specialist.

Physician Assistant Training and Certification:

The PA’s at NOI should not be confused with technicians who also may call themselves orthopedic PAs (OPAs). These individuals are trained in orthopedic assistant programs and learn technical tasks, but are not taught the basic medical sciences that are emphasized by the certified PA programs.

Furthermore, OPAs are not eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination, which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The National Board for Certification of Orthopedic Physician Assistants manages the examination for certifying OPAs. The latter test is not equivalent to the NCCPA’s examination, and the organizations are not affiliated.

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