What Can Physician Assistants Do?

PAs are trained in the medical model and educated similarly to physicians.

General roles or functions include:

Prescribing medication.
Performing physical exams and medical histories.
Ordering and interpreting labs and diagnostic tests.
Diagnosing and managing chronic disease and acute illness.
Making referrals to specialists.
Writing patient orders.
Making rounds on patients in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes.
Performing specific procedures.
Assisting in surgery. Pas cannot perform surgery on their own.
Performing patient education and counseling

 Most PAs are trained in a wide variety of clinical and surgical procedures while in school. PAs will utilize only the specific procedures used in the area of medicine in which they are practicing after graduation.

General procedures include:

Ashley Loftis2
“I was always interested in medicine. The PA Profession is a way for me to help others by doing something I’m passionate about.”
Ashley Loftis, Conway, AR
  • Venipuncture
  • IV Access
  • Arterial Puncture
  • Intradermal, Subcutaneous, Intramuscular injections
  • Suturing and stapling wounds
  • Shave and punch Biopsies
  • Incision and drainage of cysts or wounds
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Nasogastric tube placement
  • Splinting of sprains, strains and fractures
  • Casting of fractures
  • Urinalysis and urine microscopy
  • Wet prep analysis
  • Urinary catheter placement
  • Surgical drain placement and removal
  • Bursal and joint Injections
  • EKG lead placement and interpretation
  • Additional procedures

Higher level procedures PAs may be trained in include:

  • Central line placement 
  • Chest tube insertion
  • Thoracentesis or paracentesis
  • Colonoscopy/ Endoscopy
  • Additional procedures according to medical or surgical discipline


UAMS PA Program
UAMS PA Program
About Arkansas
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UAMS College of Health Professions
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UAMS 4301 W. Markham St. # 772
Little Rock, AR 72205-7199