What’s a physician assistant?

Physician assistants (PAs) support doctors at their practice. They perform many of the same jobs that doctors do and, like doctors, they’re trained, licensed, and certified to give you the best care. They can diagnose, treat, and examine patients like doctors, but always require a doctor’s supervision to practice medicine. They can create treatment plans, prescribe medicine, and counsel patients about their treatment options. They can also do minor surgeries, cosmetic procedures, and can provide pre- and post-op care.

Like doctors, a physician assistant has to begin their schooling with an undergraduate degree. Instead of going on to medical school, PAs go into a master’s program for twenty-four months. This can be continuous, year-round, but it’s usually spread out over three years. In their programs, they learn general medicine and do clinical rotations.

Although PAs don’t specialize like doctors, they can choose to work for a specialist. Much of their training is on-the-job training with their supervising physician. There are also organizations that certify PAs that are dedicated to specialties like the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants and the Michigan Dermatology Physician Assistants.

At Lifetime Dermatology, all of our practicing PAs are members of these organizations. These memberships give them access to conferences, workshops, training, and other continuing education that keeps their skills and knowledge sharp. Meet Dr. Hern’s team before stopping by for your appointment.

Our COVID-19 Procedures

In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, the following protocols have been put in place as our business begins to reopen:

  • Beth Belesky, PA-C and Jessica MacDougall, PA-C have been designated as our COVID-19 workplace coordinators.
  • We have thoroughly cleaned and sanitized our office space, exam rooms and waiting room.
  • Employees will be screened daily upon arriving to work. Any employee who is ill and/or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter the workplace.
  • All patients will be screened upon entering the office. Any patient who is ill and/or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter the workplace.
  • Configurations of all rooms have been modified to the extent possible to promote social distancing.
  • Posters regarding proper hygiene, hand washing and measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been placed throughout the office and all employees are expected to comply.
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection has been implemented to limit exposure to COVID-19 especially on high-touch surfaces.
  • Face masks will be supplied to employees and must be worn at all times.
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes have been placed in every exam room as well as other locations throughout the office.
  • All exam rooms must be cleaned and sanitized after every use – no exceptions. Schedules have been modified to allow time for cleaning.
  • All employees are expected to clean and sanitize their work spaces and any common equipment after every use.

All employees have been trained on COVID-19 including:

  • Workplace infection-control practice
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment
  • What to do if an employee or patient has symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
  • How to report unsafe working conditions.


Hand Washing Instructions Poster (.pdf)

Health Alert from Beaumont Hospital (.pdf)