Johnson and Wales University has graduated Rhode Island’s first home grown class of physicians assistants.
A physician’s assistant is like a cross between a doctor and a nurse. He or she can do much of what a doctor can do and prescribe medication. But a PA works under the supervision of a doctor and trains for just two years after college.
Johnson and Wales University will graduate its first class of 23 new PAs this week. And program head Dr. George Bottomley says the fact that a majority have found jobs in Rhode Island could help increase access to health care for more Rhode Islanders.
“There’s just not the ability to recruit and pay enough physicians to supply the needs of all the patients in this state," says Bottomley. "So working with physician assistants and nurse practitioners and being able to have Johnson and Wales graduate a first class of physician assistants in the state is really going to help the state.”
Bottomley says Johnson and Wales has just admitted its next class of physician assistant students. They’ve increased the class size to 36.