RN (BSN) vs. PA or nurse practitioner?

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    I noticed a thread that was talking about when people ask why study to be a nurse instead of a doctor. I get that too, but I also get people say that I should be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. I have my reasons for choosing BSN/ RN such as the need for RNs, RN is a bachelor degree ( from what I understand PA is only a certificate and NP is a masters degree), there are many different options on type of nursing jobs, etc. I was wondering if you all had considered these other options and if so what were your thoughts. Also, are any of you working towards becoming a nurse practitioner? I was just wondering what you all thought. Thanks in advance for your input.
    -Kimberly
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    Whew! I went through the same sorts of questions. I chose to enter a Bridge program. I will be a RN when I graduate and have a MSN. I will be able to sit for the acute care NP exam. As an aside, I also plan on getting my CCRN. I have a BS and MS in exercise physiology. My interest is in cardiology and as an acute care NP I will be able to use both medicine and my previous education together. PA programs are starting to move towards awarding masters degrees by the way.
    PA's are trained to work in primary care mostly, like a family NP. As a RN, I can get a job almost anywhere if things get real tight. PA's have to work as a PA. I want to use my MSN but if I can't, well, at least I can put food on my table. Something else to consider is whether your state is PA friendly or NP friendly. This will matter in terms of scope of practice and reimbursement for services. Hopefully, I helped a little.
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    Most programs for PA or NP are both Master's degree programs now. The main difference between them is you have to have a bsn, to become a nurse practioner, and a PA, you just need to have a bachelors degree. The Nurse Practioners are trained more like nurses, and the PA's more like medical school. The Nurse Practioner might be easier to get into, since it would be less competition. They both have prescriptive authority or at least in Texas and I think most everywhere else. Although they have the same duties for the most part, I know PA's get paid a littl more here. You might want to check this out for your area at www.salary.com
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    Hey there,
    This posting is sooo old, like a decade lol but just in case someone comes across this...it needs to be said. That comment above stating that at least you can put food on the table if you have an MSN whereas if you're a PA you only work as a PA. Obviously if you're a PA you work only as a PA...so obvious logic usage there, but the main point I want to make is in reference to the fact that it was mentioned that if you're an RN at least you can work anywhere if things get tough/tight. PAs work in ALL areas of medicine and usually do not have to do any extra schooling in order to start workiing in another area of medicine, whereas MSNs specialize in a specific area that they have to work in unless they go back to school. As far as RNs being able to get a job more than a PA, this is just ridiculous. PAs practice the same medicine as a doctor with less of the in depth knowledge (which is also debateable depending on how long the PA has practiced and picked up and continued to study)...but anyone should know that Dr/PA/RN/MSN all of these jobs will Always be in Need, and in no way will Rns be needed more than a medical professional who can diagnose and treat a patient. I'm not sure why it was said like that since literally PAs can go work in any medical speciality under any type of physician after PA school...and this profession was made originally for ex military corpsmen to be able to have a quick fast track medical education like past military docs were trained back in the day. It was meant so these medics could come home and go to school for about 2 years and then work with doctors as they had in the military...so given all that, Many PAs end up working in the ER and in surgery units and not just primary care. This is actually not meant to be rude either, sorry I've just been reading a lot about this profession and as I will have to decide between the two some day I want to be fair to both sides and not just go leaving wrong info. about either. Both are Great paths and very similar, it's just not fair to do a disservice to either.
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    Here in Maine a PA works under the physician's license so they can't open their own practice. When I was debating this NP-PA topic that was the deciding factor for me, but that may vary state to state I do not know. I liked the idea of being able to have my own practice and not work under a physician's license. The MSN plan will have to wait for me, but I ultimately decided that was the route I would take if I had to make that decision. Good luck, I'm sure you'll find the right path for you!
    WKShadowRN likes this.
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    From what I understand the current movement for NP education is to require a doctorate level in order to become an NP, meaning that the MSN will no longer be an valid option for those seeking NP licensure. I have always had my eye on becoming an NP but by the time I graduate with a BSN I will have to continue on to a DNP or PhD.. Not to mention that there is also a huge push back from the medical field who seem to have an issue with a nurse having the title of doctor ( claim it's confusing for patients). We will have to see what happens.. Anyone else hear news about this particular conundrum?
    ChelseaLynn1623 likes this.
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    I have also heard that MSN programs are going to be phased out and NPs will be required to earn a DNP. The info that I have heard says the MSN will be phased out sometime around 2015.
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    Quote from a_joy
    From what I understand the current movement for NP education is to require a doctorate level in order to become an NP, meaning that the MSN will no longer be an valid option for those seeking NP licensure. I have always had my eye on becoming an NP but by the time I graduate with a BSN I will have to continue on to a DNP or PhD.. Not to mention that there is also a huge push back from the medical field who seem to have an issue with a nurse having the title of doctor ( claim it's confusing for patients). We will have to see what happens.. Anyone else hear news about this particular conundrum?
    This is an issue for many, and I can't convince my MIL that it is what it is. She is under the mindset, even, that RNs shouldn't practice unless they are BSNs because where she went to school, in PR, that is their standard. PAs in PR take the certification after 2 years of med school. So they have their BS, then 2 years of med school. I tried last night to tell her that it's different now. (Her experience was almost 40 years ago. She was in medical technologist school after getting her BS with fellow med school tracked students.) She also feels that NPs should have a title singular to themselves so that patients don't call them doctor. I tried to tell her that that is just out of respect, as the roles are as primary care. It really bothers her, for that I am disappointed. I may never convince her, but as the trend for PCP is changing with more NPs in practice every year, I think the perception will follow.


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