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Physicians & Staff

Meet Our Physicians Extenders

Click on any member of our team to read their bio:

Sean Powell PA-C, MMS
Earnest Kepler PA-C
Ashton Phillips MSN, APRN
Brian Emerson APRN

From the conception of our practice Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine has recognized the valuable role that Physicians Extenders play in our patient care. We would like to share some information that will help to define their role.

What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

A Physician Assistant is a health care professional licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibility, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illness, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative healthcare, assist in surgery, and in most states can write prescriptions.

How is a Physician Assistant educated?

PAs are trained in intensive education programs by the Accreditation Review Commission of Education for Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and are certified by the NCCPA (National Certification Commission of Physician Assistants). After completing an undergraduate degree, a PA must be accepted into an extended medical training program. Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in a medical model designed to compliment physician training. PA students are taught, as are medical students, to diagnose and treat medical problems. PAs are required to take ongoing continuing education classes and be retested on their clinical skills on a regular basis. Physician Assistants are taught to “know our limits” and refer to physicians appropriately.

What is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)?

An APRN is a registered nurse with advanced degrees and training as a board certified nurse practitioner. An APRN can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat health problems, order lab work and X-rays, prescribe medicines, and provide health information.

How is an Advanced Nurse Registered Practitioner educated?

An APRN has either a graduate degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). In order to become licensed/certified to practice, Nurse Practitioners must pass a national board certification exam in an area of specialty – such as family, women’s health, pediatrics or acute care. The NP is licensed or certified through the state nursing boards rather than medical boards. The core philosophy of the field is individualized care. Nurse practitioners focus on patients’ conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patient. Prevention and patient education are always a top priority.

The relationship between a Physician Extender and the supervising physician is one of mutual trust and respect. The Physician Extender is a representative of the physician treating the patient in the style and manner developed and directed by the physician. Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine feels our staff of Physicians Extenders is an essential part of the on-going care that we provide our patients. They look forward to participating in your care.