Let the Physician Assistant Become the Physician


  • Seun Ayoade Independent Researcher, Alumnus, College of Medicine University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.


It is said that when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was trying to woo Eleanor, he finally won her over with the line “you won’t even have to change your name!” This was because the future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s maiden name was “Roosevelt” too! In the last couple of years many physician assistants in the United States of America have been campaigning for the profession’s name to be changed to “Physician Associate” as it is called in the United Kingdom. I propose a simpler and better title to wit: - Physician [Assistant]. Just adding a bracket/parenthesis to the controversial word “assistant”; changes a lot. A physician Assistant is not a physician. A physician Associate is not a physician, but a Physician (Assistant) IS a physician. Just like a Private and a Private First Class are both Privates. And just like a three star general and a four star general are both generals. In China physician assistants are called “assistant doctors”. They consider themselves to be doctors and the Chinese public and patients call those doctors. Their training takes three years. “Full” doctors in china train for five years, the Chinese public regards these “full” doctors the way Americans regard specialists compared to plain MDs. In china specialists are called “medical scientists” and train for seven years. It is my sincere view that the change from physician assistant to Physician (Assistant) will do the trick. And save a lot of paperwork and related labour too! You would have changed your name without changing your name!






Opinion and Perspective