Misuse of the PA Title on Job Postings
Please Note: Your Job Posting advertises for an “IMG, Medical Assistant, Clinical Assistant, Physician Helper, Medical Scribe, or Medical Secretary / Administrative Assistant“ and inappropriately uses the title “Physician Assistant”.
“Physician Assistant” is a distinct role that is not interchangeable with the terms listed above.
The title of “Physician Assistant” is protected, and should only be used in job postings, contracts, etc. when hiring a qualified PA with the necessary education and requirements.
Please update your Job Posting
Under your “requirements” you have specified you are looking is not a Physician Assistant. We kindly request you to :
1. Please remove the term “Physician Assistant” from your job posting and replace your job description with text that more accurately reflects the role you are looking for (such as “IMG, Medical Assistant, Clinical Assistant, Medical Scribe, Medical Secretary, Physician Helper” etc.), or
2. If you decide to move forward with hiring a PA, please update the “Requirements/Qualifications” section to include the appropriate requirements and qualifications of a “Physician Assistant”.
- The text can include for your job posting :
- Certified or eligible to be certified through the Physician Assistant’s Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) or National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
- Successful completion of PA program in Canada or the United States.
Membership with the Canadian Association of the Physician Assistants (CAPA)
The ‘Physician Assistant’ Title is Protected
Under Bill 283, PAs will be regulated under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. As a regulated health care profession, the “Physician Assistant” name and the title is protected, which means the PA must meet educational and certification requirements to be a PA.
What does “title protection” mean?
Title protection means that unless the user meets necessary education and qualifications, they cannot call themselves a “Physician Assistant”.
It would be illegal to claim a license you do not have, just as it would be inappropriate to call oneself a “registered nurse”, “physician”, “pharmacist” or “physiotherapist” without having the appropriate qualifications.
CAPA is strongly opposed to this misuse of the PA title and to any misrepresentation that may:
- confuse patients or put them at risk of harm;
- mislead other health care professionals; or
- otherwise harm the profession as a result of misinformation.
When patients receive care from a PA, they must be confident that their PA has the education, training, and skills to provide high-quality, evidence-based care.
Only individuals who have graduated from an accredited PA education program and are certified as a “Canadian Certified Physician Assistant (CCPA)” by the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada should be providing medical care as a PA. The CCPA designation demonstrates that the individual maintains their competencies through Continuing Professional Development and that they are committed to upholding the profession’s Standards of Practice.”
What Qualifications can I expect when working with a PA?
Physicians are highly educated health care providers who practice medicine. Click here to learn more about What is a PA. PAs are trained in the same medical model as physicians, with professional competencies and scope of practice that mirrors that of physicians:
- Trained at an accredited Physician Assistant Program:
- To protect public interests, and to uphold the integrity of the PA profession in Canada, PA programs undergo a rigorous accreditation process to ensure they comply with standards.
- Canadian-trained PAs are trained at one of the 3 Accredited PA programs in Canada. PAs are trained within the Canadian health care system, and all clinical rotations and placements are in Canada.
- American trained PAs train at an ARC-PA accredited PA program physically located in the United States.
PAs are board-certified
- Canadian PAs complete the PA Entry to Practice Certification Exam as administered through the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC).
- American PAs complete the PANCE exam as administered through NCCPA.
PAs must maintain certification and good standing with PA organizations
- PAs are required to keep up with Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours in order to remain licensed.
- The knowledge, skills and access to resources PAs obtain through CME/CPD opportunities allows the PA to bring knowledge, skills and resources back to the practice to the benefit patients and staff.
Membership with the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA)
- PAs stay licensed through membership with the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, which provides resources and tools for practice.
Physician Assistants are regulated through provincial legislation.
- In Ontario, PAs will be regulated under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) under Bill 283.
- PAs are also regulated in Manitoba and Alberta
- PAs register with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick (CPSNB through section 32.1 of the New Brunswick Medical Act, with Regulation #6 dictating terms of PA practice in the province)
- Click here to learn more about legislation around PA practice in Canada.
PAs have liability insurance/malpractice insurance
- Through membership with CAPA, PAs have access to liability insurance and pay insurance premiums and are covered up to $10,000,000 per claim.
- The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) also provides professional liability insurance for physicians who work with PAs.
You can check if a PA is in good standing:
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