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National PA Day

National PA Day, which goes by other similar names like National Physician Assistant Day and National Physician's Assistant Day, celebrates physician assistants and recognizes their work, skills, and importance. It was created by the board of directors of the American Association of Physician Assistants—an organization now known as the American Academy of PAs—and first held in 1987, on the 20th anniversary of the graduation of the first physician assistants. The day takes place on the first day of National PA Week.

Dr. Eugene Stead started the physician assistant profession at the Duke University Medical Center in 1965. Four students who had previously been medical corpsmen in Vietnam became the first physician assistants after they graduated from Duke on October 6, 1967. The American Association of Physician Assistants was formed the following year, and the American Medical Association recognized the physician assistant profession in 1971. As of 2020, there were over 140,000 physician assistants, doing work in every state in the Union.

In most cases, physician assistants practice medicine that is delegated from supervising doctors. They work alongside surgeons, specialists, general practitioners, and interns, and can be found in numerous settings, such as medical offices, nursing homes, retail clinics (walk-in clinics in retail stores), hospitals, community health centers, workplace clinics, educational facilities, and correctional institutions. They also are in the uniformed services and work for federal government agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is much versatility to their job and they fill a variety of roles: they take medical histories, perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, assist in surgery, write prescriptions, counsel on preventive care, develop and manage treatment plans, make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes, do clinical research, and often are the principal healthcare provider of a patient.

How to Observe National PA Day

Here are a few ways you could mark the day:

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