Physician Assistants

Medical Staff

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What is a PA?

Physician Assistants (PA) are academically prepared and highly skilled health care professionals who provide a broad range of medical services. PAs act as health care extenders, working under the supervision of a physician, to complement existing services and aid in improving patient access to health care.

PAs are nationally represented by the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) and, in Alberta, must be certified and registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA). The process for regulation of the PA profession in Alberta is still underway.

As of April 1, 2021, PAs are fully-regulated health professionals in Alberta. As part of this regulation, PAs must be registered with CPSA and have a valid practice permit.

If you are interested in learning more about PAs, please visit the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) website.

Scope of Practice

The PA’s scope of practice is determined on an individual basis and formally outlined in a practice contract or agreement among the supervising physician, the PA and the facility where the PA will work.

  • Activities may include conducting patient interviews, histories and physical examinations; diagnosing and treating illnesses, performing selected diagnostic and therapeutic interventions or procedures; and counseling patients on preventive health care.
  • A PA’s scope of practice may also include patient education, research and administrative services.

Integration into the Healthcare Team

A PA is not a replacement for a physician, Nurse Practitioner (NP), Registered Nurse (RN), or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Rather, each of these professions have different abilities, skill sets, talents, and varying scopes of practice that all work together to provide Albertans with high-quality health care.