Physician Assistant rated high on career list - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Physician Assistant rated high on career list

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According to Money Magazine, it's the second best career in the country. What is it? A physician assistant. They say it's a job with a great pay scale and lots of room for growth.

Molly Earleywine has been working as a Physician Assistant at Siouxland Community Health for 9 years. She graduated from the University of South Dakota Medical School in 2000. Why be a Physician Assistant and not a doctor? Earleywine says she was accepted to medical school, but was raising a family and didn't have the time. The solution, going back to get her degree as a P.A. when her kids were in school. "I try and treat everybody like I'm treating my family. You're my mother, you're my sister, you're my child; and that's how I approach it and I think they appreciate that," said Molly Earleywine.

USD Associate Professor Wade Nilson is also a Physician Assistant. He says it's the obvious choice at a time when there just aren't enough doctors to go around. "There's just an overall increased health care need to begin with, there's a provider shortage, and as a way to help with the provider shortage we can get P.A.'s out in the field a little bit quicker," said Wade Nilson. The USD program is 28 months... 14 of which are in the classroom... and the final 14 out in a clinic. And it doesn't have to be a family practice; physician assistant's can work in nearly every specialty. "The beauty about a P.A. is that there's some flexibility. You can do all kinds of things. You can chose any area of medicine, and you have some flexibility whatever you chose to do," said Nilson.

Earleywine says if you had to put a number on it, P.A.'s do about 80-percent of what doctors do, but you reap all the benefits of helping people. "I'm able to do my part as a P.A," said Earleywine. USD accepts about 20 students each year for it's Physician Assistant program. They get about 300 applications. By the way, Money Magazine also rated the profession high on their list for salary... P.A.'s make around $90,000 a year.

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