What is a Physician Assistant?

Have you met Kalen, the newest addition to our team of skin care providers as a Certified Physician Assistant, specializing in medical and surgical dermatology? While the term “Physician Assistant” (PA) to some can indicate a lower quality of medical provider, this notion could not be further from the truth!  We are taking this week’s post to celebrate Kalen and explain a bit more about what the role of a physician assistant is in your medical care.

To date there are nearly 90,000 physician assistants working in all aspects of the medical field.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number is estimated to grow 38% by 2022.  The role of a physician assistant is growing in medical offices, hospitals and clinics across the country as they are increasing in training and responsibilities in all fields of medicine.

Kalen E. Ashford, PA-C

Kalen’s first day at DLCC!
Under the supervision of a collaborating physician, physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medication.  Nationally certified and state-licensed, physician assistants are required to complete a 3 year advanced program, including many of the same classes as physicians, as well as 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. Many PA programs require 3 years prior experience in a hands-on patient care, medical setting before being eligible to enter the program.  Required to obtain a minimum of 100 hours of continuing education every two years, physician assistants are also required to be re-certified every 10 years.While physician assistants can enter nearly all fields of medicine, it is during their clinical rotations that they most often hone in on their specialty area.

Dermatology offices, including DLCC, utilize PAs in nearly all aspects of the patient’s experience. Being overseen by a leading physician (Dr. Schlesinger), Kalen is able to evaluate and treat the vast majority of all skin, nail and hair conditions, perform skin exams, and prescribe medications, as well as conduct biopsies and excisions. The only role physician assistants at our office do not take on is the role of a cosmetic injector.Before accepting a position at DLCC,

Kalen completed all three of her clinical rotations in dermatology practices located around the DC-Metro area. After graduation and her certification, she accepted a position as a Certified Physician Assistant at Integrated Dermatology of K-Street in Washington D.C.  Fortunately for our practice and our patients, Kalen and her family relocated to Charleston at the end of the summer, where she happily joined the DLCC family in early September. With the rigorous education and training standards a certified physician assistant endures throughout their career, rest assured you will receive the same top grade quality care as you would seeing a board-certified physician at Dermatology and Laser Center of Charleston.

Our patients have readily embraced Kalen as a part of our team and we could not be more pleased! If you would like to learn more about Kalen visit our website or simply give our office a call to schedule an appointment!

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2180 Henry Tecklenburg Dr.
Charleston, SC 29414

1364 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC 29407

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