Physician assistant vs. Nurse which would you choose? - page 2

by kgard7777 78,664 Views | 12 Comments

I am trying to weigh my options if I should become a Nurse or a PA? I am currently in the medical field but not with patient care and I make a pretty good living doing it. However, I would like to do patient care but more on the... Read More


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    Hello Friends!

    I hope you are all doing well...

    I have a few questions, hopefully you can assist me. I am currently deciding between NP and PA as well.

    1. Is the PA role as flexible as the NP / RN role? I have talked with a lot of NPs that tell me that they can change fields that they are working in. (Ex: At Lucille Packard's Children Hospital the NPs in ears, nose, throat said that they could just change to cardiology VERY easily)...can PAs switch what field's they are working in?

    2. Does anyone know the average salary for California NPs and PAs? (Not including surgery because I am pretty sure that I am not going into surgery)

    3. NPs tell me about how they will always be in demand because they can apply for jobs as RNs. They even talk about travel nurses and all these other perks that come along with being a RN. Are PAs also in high demand?

    4. Status wise: who is higher?

    5. Average work day hours for each?

    6. What would you chose: Stanford PA program (16 months) or Advanced Nursing Program to become a NP (3 years)? >>I'm young with no husband, kids, all that so maybe you can offer some advice for me.

    Thanks everyone for your help! I learn so much from these boards!

    --ginillel
  2. 0
    Quote from ginillel
    hello friends!

    i hope you are all doing well...

    i have a few questions, hopefully you can assist me. i am currently deciding between np and pa as well.

    1. is the pa role as flexible as the np / rn role? i have talked with a lot of nps that tell me that they can change fields that they are working in. (ex: at lucille packard's children hospital the nps in ears, nose, throat said that they could just change to cardiology very easily)...can pas switch what field's they are working in?
    for the most part pas have even more flexibility. the scope of practice is defined by the supervising physician. so if i work for pediatric ent thats my scope. if i work for adult ent thats my scope. if i work for an ent that does adults and peds thats my scope. if i get sick of ent and want to do family practice then i can do that. there are literally pas working in every area of medicine including some exotic areas such as forensic medicine. on the other hand if the np is a pnp they will not be able to work with adult ent patients since that is outside their scope. some nps advocate the fnp to be able to see all patients. depending on the hospital and the state this may be an option, however a number of states and hospitals regard this as a primary care specialty. ymmv.

    2. does anyone know the average salary for california nps and pas? (not including surgery because i am pretty sure that i am not going into surgery)
    the average pa salary was $96,000 in 2007. advance for nps lists the np salary as the same.

    3. nps tell me about how they will always be in demand because they can apply for jobs as rns. they even talk about travel nurses and all these other perks that come along with being a rn. are pas also in high demand?
    if you want to be a travel rn thats fine. its much more difficult to travel as an np (or pa for that matter) because of licensing and malpractice. as i posted before, in norther california you can probably make more as an rn especially with some overtime or agency. there are also a number of liability issues for nps working as rns that were discussed on the np forum.

    4. status wise: who is higher?
    it all depends on the job. if you are worried about status then either np or pa may not be the job for you. best case is an autonomous job where you have supportive providers willing to mentor. worst case, take a gander at the np forum.

    5. average work day hours for each?
    average week for pas is 44 hours. nps no idea. for practices that use both the jobs are relatively interchangeable. because of their surgical concentration pas overall probably have longer hours (but thats just a guess).

    6. what would you chose: stanford pa program (16 months) or advanced nursing program to become a np (3 years)? >>i'm young with no husband, kids, all that so maybe you can offer some advice for me.

    thanks everyone for your help! i learn so much from these boards!

    --ginillel
    the stanford pa program is very competitive and while it can be completed in 16 months, many students take advantage of extra rotations to get more experience. i have been told the average amount of time is closer the the 26 month average for all pa programs. i could give advice but i have a bias:d.

    good luck.

    david carpenter, pa-c
  3. 0
    Wow. Thanks for posting this response. I needed to hear this because I am in the same boat right now and feel the same way. I will be going towards the post bacc nursing program.


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