differences between PA and NP?

  1. 0
    i was just checking out the requirements for uc davis school of medicine for physicians assistant and comparing it to their family nurse practitioner master's program and i noticed there's a big difference. i once heard that pas are one step below doctors (just read about it, not sure if that is true. i neither take that statement as true or false.). to get into the pa program according to this guide, all you needed was an associate degree (did not list in what) and 60 units to apply and take the certificate program. for the fnp-msn track you had not only to have your bsn but take the gre as well. this seems a little strange to me considering the previous statement. i expected the msn to be difficult but i am wondering why the pa program isn't more difficult than listed to get into (compared to msn, if they really are "one step below doctors"). i got this guide from my local cc and have yet to talk to a counselour about it. but i was wondering:

    can anybody tell me more about pa what the are/do compared to nurses?


    what is the salaries of pa compared to np? (i'm not in it for the money, just curious how they stack up to each other)


    is pa considered a stable and "safe" career to get into now like nursing is supposed to be?


    [color=#006699]http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos081.htm i read a little bit about pa on here but i am curious as to the specific roles they play in hospitals and other facilities as compared to nurses.

    thank you
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 21 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I looked into both prior deciding that I'd like to go with nursing. You might want to look at the PA forums out there but generally PAs applicants are somewhat experienced healthcare professionals who want to work under the guidance of a Physician. What that means exactly varies state by state. Some PAs can prescribe medicine, some can't.
    magichospital likes this.
  5. 3
    Np's fall under the board of nursing. PA's under the board of Medicine. PA's , in most cases, have significant healthcare experience prior to entering school. Their education is patterned after med school with didactic up front then rotations through mulitple areas. PA's and NP's can basically do each other's jobs with the exception that PA's can move into different specialties without going back to school and also can function in the surgical arena. NP's can practice independently but do not function in surgery without being and RNFA. PA's have much more clinical time and better hard science education than Np's. Both specialties work under the guidance of a physician but there is a small percentage of NP's who practice completely independent of a physician, but that's for another thread......
  6. 1
    I believe that an NP can work independentaly but a PA must work under the direct supervision of physician. Also, here in Mass - the salaries are the same.
    magichospital likes this.
  7. 2
    NP's can only work independantly in certain states. The level of supervision for advanced practice nurses varies by each state and what they are allowed to do.
    TakeBack and magichospital like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from eglide87
    Np's fall under the board of nursing. PA's under the board of Medicine. PA's , in most cases, have significant healthcare experience prior to entering school. Their education is patterned after med school with didactic up front then rotations through mulitple areas. PA's and NP's can basically do each other's jobs with the exception that PA's can move into different specialties without going back to school and also can function in the surgical arena. NP's can practice independently but do not function in surgery without being and RNFA. PA's have much more clinical time and better hard science education than Np's. Both specialties work under the guidance of a physician but there is a small percentage of NP's who practice completely independent of a physician, but that's for another thread......

    What kind of "significant healthcare experience" do you mean? I know some PAs have been nurses, but the requirements for the PA programs that I have seen include that of phlebotomists, MAs, CNAs, and EMTs in addition to nursing. In my opinion, nothing but nursing equates to the experience that virtually all NPs have.
    magichospital likes this.
  9. 0
    Oh, thanks for the answers so far! If it makes a difference, I am in California.
  10. 5
    First of all you should hit some of the info sessions that the PA programs here in Cali offer. I'm in PA school in Cali and my school offers 3-4 info sessions each year, usually in the fall.

    eglide87 gave a very good overall comparison of the two fields, it's hard to get really specific because state laws are all different but that was a very good description. Look at what your options are and what YOU expect to get in return for your efforts. Some opinions on here very biased and since this is a nursing forum I would expect them to be. Weigh out everything when deciding this. Financial obligations, family and friends, all this must be considered. Can you go to school full time or do you need part time? Make a list of all these questions and be honest with yourself.

    As a PA student you will not be able to work. The amount of material that is covered in such short amount of time is unbelievable. I could possibly work 1-2 shifts per month but it would mean giving up my family time. We are in class 5 days a week and four of those are 6-8hr days with friday being short 2-4 hrs. Friday afternoon/night and Saturday til 2pm are my designated family hours so no school.

    NP school has better options like part time and online classes and those things make it desirable to pursue. The draw back that I've seen, and this is from reading post on here, is the lower clinical hours and limited exposure to things like radiology in class. Those are things to consider as far as your comfort level.

    Explore your options and gather info from the programs your interested in, that is the best way to make a good educated decision. Remember the focus of each profession is to fill a need, to take care of those with limited means or access to healthcare. In California there is a very high demand for providers to get out in those rural towns and take care of folks. Our little PA program here in the Valley has been nationally recognized for putting PA's in remote, undeserved clinics where they are desperately needed. Both NP's and PA's are needed to provide the services they are trained to do and deliver good quality care to all that present.
    jahra, TakeBack, magichospital, and 2 others like this.
  11. 0
    My sister drove back and forth from Michigan to Ohio for her PA program, and she worked.
  12. 1
    The terms guidance and supervision doesn't imply that the a PA must run to a licensed physician for an answer to every question or patient problem. Generally, they work the same as a NP would - with physician collaboration, but yes PAs do work under the license of a "supervising" (name on the paper) physician.

    PAs also have a much more science-oriented curriculum, as a good rule of thumb, if that's your bag. I love science, personally.
    magichospital likes this.


Top