Since I joined Seaside Medical Practice, I have frequently been asked about my profession as a Physician Assistant, aka PA.  I hope to clarify some of our patients’ questions with a short and sweet version defining the important role of a Physician Assistant.
PA’s are formally trained, licensed healthcare providers who can assess patients through history taking, physical exams, order and interpret labs, order and interpret imaging studies, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications.  Some work alongside surgeons in the operating room, perform aesthetic procedures, as well as work in a subspecialist role under the supervision of a physician.
The majority of students who enter PA school, do so after obtaining a college degree, and many have prior experience in the healthcare field.  Formal training ranges between 2-3 rigorous years at an accredited Physician Assistant Program consisting of didactic and clinical education.
Generally, the first year of PA school spans topics such as Adult Medicine, Pathophysiology, Anatomy, and Physical Examination.  The second year is more hands on.  Students rotate in different specialties of medicine, with emphasis on Primary Care.  After completing the program, students elect to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination to become a certified PA.  Recertification is required after 6 years.
Similar to MD’s, Physician Assistants must continue life-long education.  We are required to log 100 hours of Continued Medical Education achieved through pre-approved clinical and professional educational activities.
My first position as a certified PA was in Pain Management with an Anesthesiologist.  There I was able to practice a blend of orthopedics, neurology, and psychology.  My second position was with an Endocrinologist, or a doctor who specializes in hormones.  There I specialized in diabetes controlled with insulin and thyroid disorders.  Now, under direct supervision of Dr. Yazdani, a nephrologist and internist, I have an independent practice where I manage my own patients, assist the doctor in complex cases, and perform most of the aesthetic procedures in the office.
As you can see, a Physician Assistant complements the supervising doctor’s practice in a very unique and important way.
I hope this description gives you a better understanding of the Physician Assistant profession.  If you have any other questions, you can find more information at, and as always, I’ll be happy to explain it all again in person.

Christine Soriano, Certified Physician Assistant