History of Physician Associates
Physician Associates, (PAs) or Physician Assistants, are highly skilled medical professionals who practice medicine in a wide variety of settings including acute medicine & surgery, private practice and GP & family practice.
PAs diagnose, treat and manage patients with the guidance of their supervising physician. PAs are trained under the medical model and trained to take medical histories, perform physical exams, order and carry out investigations, make diagnoses and devise management plans. PAs also play a large role in providing a continuity of care to patients and medical teams throughout Ireland.
Physician Assistants were first established in the United States in the 1960's. The role was introduced to the United Kingdom in 2005, where the role is referred to as 'Physician Associates'. The Republic of Ireland saw its first cohort of physician associates graduate from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland in December 2017 with a level 9 MSc in Physician Associate Studies. Upon successfully passing the Irish Physician Associate National Exam, an Irish certified PA may add 'IC' to the end of their credentials. There are currently approximately 62 Irish-certified PAs working in the Irish healthcare system.