SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – The medical assistant is one of the fastest growing careers in the medical field, with the profession expected to increase 31% by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This puts the profession in high demand. A week-long national recognition of physician assistants ends today.
For those who don’t know, PAs are healthcare professionals with thousands of hours of training. Their skills allow them to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and perform many medical tasks.
Rebecca Clawson, clinical assistant professor of the PA program at LSU Health Shreveport, said the program is 27 consecutive months of graduate medical education.
“PAs are trained in general medical education. So we learn about it all over the body. We get to know the type of acute emergency care medicine. We are learning more about preventive care, which is more of family medicine, and the management of chronic disease. We learn all of that in school, ”Clawson said. “And so when we graduate, we’re ready to go into general medicine or we can choose a specialty. And when we get into this specialty, we just have a longer learning curve. There is a lot of on-the-job training.
LSU Health Shreveport has offered its BP program for 25 years. The competition to enter the program is fierce, with only 40 places available and up to 600 applicants per year.
Clawson recommends that people considering a career as a medical assistant take a physician assistant to get a better idea of what the job entails. Along with good grades, knowing your community and caring for others is an important part of the job, Clawson said.
“And really, having a heart of servant or of service is important because you are entering a profession where you are serving the public,” she explained. “And so, it’s a little different from business or entrepreneurship, where the goal is different. Our goal is to take care of our patients and improve the health outcomes in our condition. “
Hayley Arceneaux, a recent graduate of the LSU Health Shreveport PA program, was a physician aboard the Inspiration4 spacecraft. Clawson said the program was proud to have one of their own in this role.