Orthopedic physician’s assistants are special aides who have been trained to assist bone surgeons. Although they are not surgeons themselves, physician assistants play a vital role assisting orthopedic surgeons as they are quite capable of carrying out a number of duties that surgeons need to delegate. The need for this specialized kind of assistant arose when it was decided that the surgeons needed help to help immobilize patients using the proper equipment. Ordinary physician’s assistant training programs do not adequately cover the skeleton and hence this medical specialty developed and is now well-established.
Physicians’ helpers who specialize in the skeleton and have qualified as orthopedic physicians’ assistants are trained rigorously. Their training covers such areas as anatomy, patient education, taking of patient history and other areas that are specific to this field. Their training can take years, including classroom time, internships and residencies as well as professional certification by the relevant board where they plan to practice.
These facilitators often see patients before the surgeon, and have in place a treatment plan ready. By the time the physician gets to the patient, the assistant has ordered and reviewed diagnostic tests and has set out a plan for the handling of the presenting issue. This makes them invaluable in any orthopedic surgery.
Not only do they preview patient cases and files, they are also responsible for the application of local anesthetics. Sometimes patients need to have pain managed before anything further can be done; it is the assistant who takes care of this. Where specialty care is needed, arrangements are made for this accordingly, in keeping with the assistant’s training that makes the individual well able to make these judgment calls.
They are well-trained specialists in their own right, in the field of orthopedics. This means that their area of expertise is in conditions of the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments and all the conditions that may affect these.
These assistants support surgeons before, during and after procedures in the theater. This support can cover things such as preparing patients for surgery, being there to assist during the actual surgery, as well as proving post-operative care for the patient once surgery is over. They can also assist with physical therapy where this is needed.
Assistants are capable of diagnosing and treating patients as they have the training for this. While they cannot open practices themselves, if working under a physician they can have their own panel of patients, treating them under the supervision of the physician. They also screen patients for surgery where this is necessary.
In order to play their role to the best of their ability, aides must have well-rounded skills. They are usually excellent communicators as they need to work with professionals and with patients. Orthopedic assistants are typically well-organized, pay attention to detail, and have an excellent grasp of the intricacies of working with the musculoskeletal structures of the human body. They are invaluable additions to practices, as an extra set of skilled hands can make the difference between a surgery going wrong and being successful.