Dermatology, Cosmetic Surgery, Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery & Laser Surgery

What Is a Physician Assistant?

In honor of National PA week I thought I’d take a moment to explain exactly what a PA is and does.

A physician assistant is a licensed and highly skilled health care professional, trained to provide patient evaluation, education, and health care services. A PA works with a physician to provide medical care and guidance to patients. A PA must attend a specialized medical training program associated with a medical school, which includes classroom studies and clinical experience. I personally have a bachelors degree in biology and also received my masters degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Southern California. I have been formally trained in dermatology by Dr. Rebish and Dr. Lee. Each PA must be supervised by a physician, and the supervising physician must always be available to the PA should the need arise.

A PA performs many diagnostic, preventative, and health maintenance services. As a physician assistant in dermatology, here are some services I provide:

  • Perform full body exams for skin cancer screening
  • Diagnose skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, skin cancer, rashes, etc.
  • Instruct and counsel patients on their medical conditions
  • Perform laser treatments, such as laser hair removal, VBeam laser for blood vessel removal, and sun spot removal with the MiXto laser
  • Perform minor surgical procedures
  • Write prescriptions
  • Act as first or second assistant during surgery
  • Perform cosmetic procedures, such as Botox, Dysport, Radiesse, Juvederm, and Restylane injections.

Frequently Asked Questions about Physician Assistants:

1. Are you a doctor? No, I am what is referred to as a mid-level practitioner, similar to a nurse practitioner. I am able to see patients, write prescriptions, and order tests.

2. Will you become a doctor? No, I have completed my formal training and passed national certification boards for physician assistants. I am not an intern or studying to be a doctor.

4. Are you a nurse or medical assistant? No, I have a bachelors degree in biology and have completed post-graduate training in a physician assistant program. I am board certified as a physician assistant.

5. What is the difference between a physician and a physician assistant?
The main difference between a physician and physician assistant is the amount of time spent in training. Physicians spend more time in school and also have to go through internships and residencies. Physicians can practice independently while PAs work with physicians and are ultimately under the physician’s supervision.

6. Do I have to see the PA? No. It is completely your choice on which provider you would like to see. 

7. What does PA-C mean? It means physician assistant-certified. It means the person has graduated from an accredited program and has passed testing by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

8. Can you prescribe medications? Yes. I am able to recommend medications and write prescriptions.

9. How long have PAs been around? Since the 1960s physician assistants have helped expand the delivery of quality medical care.

erin small head shot

I absolutely love my job and could not imagine doing anything else.

I love being to work as a team with the physicians and other PA in our office to provide the best possible care for all of our patients.

Erin Jensen PA-C


If you are interested in any procedure or would like more information, feel free to schedule a consultation with our physicians or physician assistant by calling (909) 981-8929 or filling out our online contact form.

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