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Allied Health Professionals: What Are They and Why Should I Care?

By Summer Abubaker, PA-C on June 22, 2017 in What's Up Doc?
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Many people think the only person that can provide medical care in a doctor’s office is their doctor. This is a common misconception, as nowadays, there are many different healthcare providers that work together to provide you better care. In our office, we employ physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives in addition to our doctors and medical assistants. It is the combination of all of these different providers that makes our office run smoothly. Some of you may have already seen one of these allied health professionals and may wonder why you are not seeing your doctor. Allied Health Professionals help to fill in the gaps when physicians cannot be in the office. As an OB/GYN, you can imagine this happens rather often. When doctors leave for deliveries or surgeries, the physician assistants and nurse practitioners help to see their patients so they are not forced to reschedule or wait for several hours to see their doctor. Midwives perform deliveries at the hospital so that the doctor can spend more time at the office seeing their patients. They also have more flexibility with their schedules, often times having same-day appointments available when your physician’s schedule is booked out several weeks in advance. Together, we work cohesively as a team to better your overall experience at MacArthur OB/GYN.

Some of you might be wondering, what are the qualifications of Allied Health Professionals? All Allied Health Professionals complete rigorous training and education through a certified program. All are able to complete physical exams, prescribe medications, make diagnoses and order lab testing, amongst other things. Here is a chart outlining some of the differences between the 3 types of AHP’s in our office.

What is it?

Physician Assistant
A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. PA’s practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states.

Degree Earned

Master’s Degree

Education Post High School

6 – 7 years

Type of Training

Broad, educated in all medical fields; may choose to do a residency in one field, but not required

Nurse Practitioner
As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care.

Master’s Degree or Doctorate Degree depending on program

6 – 8 years

Typically specialized to one field, i.e. women’s health

Certified Nurse Midwife
CNMs are licensed, independent health care providers with prescriptive authority in all 50 states. CNMs are defined as primary care providers under federal law.

Master’s Degree or Doctorate Degree depending on program

6 – 8 years

Specialized to women’s health; perform deliveries and assist with cesarean sections

Summer Abubaker, PA-C

About the Author

Summer Abubaker, PA-CView all posts by Summer Abubaker, PA-C

Summer attended Austin College for her undergraduate degree, graduating summa cum laude. She received her Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas, Southwestern School of Health Professions.

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