National industry standards require that PAs take a re-certification test every ten years. Candidates can prepare for these re-certification examinations through multiple-day annual conferences where health care experts lead courses providing the latest training on a range of common medical problems. These conferences are offered through a number of universities and may be available online for home study.
Here are some common concepts found in physician assistant re-certification courses:
- Infectious diseases
- Body systems
- Tests and treatments
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List of Typical Courses
Emergency Medicine Course
Students review topics relating to life-threatening injuries and illnesses and other emergency care. This course explores the diagnosis and treatment of common complaints seen in emergency medical settings. These problems may include hypertension, chest pain, diabetes, strokes and asthma. Participants also learn about the operation of emergency rooms, including the surgical, medicine and pediatric areas.
Pediatric Care Course
This course discusses the typical disorders found among children in inpatient and outpatient settings. Students review baby wellness, immunization, nutrition and development. Students also learn about common childhood diseases and illnesses and how to recognize their symptoms and provide treatment.
Students learn about the uses and chemistry of therapeutic drugs. They study the reaction of pharmaceuticals on the human body, especially the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous systems. This course explores the classification of drugs and their precautions, warnings and major side effects. Participants also learn about the laws governing physician assistants and the writing of prescriptions.
Behavioral Health Course
This course looks at the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health problems, including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorders. Students discuss the basic principles underlying human behavior, including learning, physiological development, social behavior, motivation and memory. Individuals learn counseling skills to help patients deal with behavioral health problems, as well as with the death of a loved one, stress and other issues.
This course looks at the chronic and acute problems relating to the electrical impulses to the heart that cause it to beat. Students review how an echocardiogram test can help diagnose these conduction disorders, which could be the result of myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia or angina. Individuals learn the proper treatment of these disorders, as well as that of heart valve problems.
Internal Medicine Course
This course teaches students, under the supervision of clinical staff, how to evaluate patients and initiate treatment. Students review how to perform a physical examination and to conduct biochemical and physiological tests to confirm their diagnosis. They also learn how to monitor the daily progress of patients.