In 1979, coincident with a planned decrease in the size of the general surgery training program, the orthopedic department of the senior author's university-affiliated teaching hospital began to employ physician assistants. The intent of using physician assistants was to relieve the two orthopedic residents assigned to the hospital of many service responsibilities and patient care that previously had been rendered by the general surgical residents and interns. The non-M.D. physician assistants record a comprehensive past and present medical history, carry out physical exams, and assist at surgery. They are directly under the supervision of and responsible to the attending surgeon. It was hoped the addition of these individuals will help maintain a quality educational experience for the orthopedic residents. The general response to the use of physician assistants in this affiliated hospital has been favorable.
* From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
** From the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Reprint requests to Carl M. Harris, M.D., Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Rochester, 220 Alexander St., Rochester, NY 14607.
Received: September 18, 1987.