If you are not planning on working in the surgical field in the provider role, than PA and NP have a very similar role and often function interchangeably.
PA programs are 3 years, full-time, and they are generalist programs with front loaded didactic based on the medical model of education. Entry is at the masters level. PAs have to re-board every 10 years.
NP programs are 3-6+ years, full or part time, and are specialist programs with integrated clinical and didactic based on the nursing model of education. There is also entry at the masters and doctorate level. NPs have to renew but not re-board every 5 years.
There are some differences to consider as they might impact you later in your career. PAs have mandatory physician oversight; there is no independent practice for PAs and they fall strictly under the state Board of Medicine. NPs in nearly half the country have fully independent practice. NPs also vary by state in that they fall under the state Board of Nursing and/or Board of Medicine.
Quote from HelloWish
I do not understand why you'd go for NP as that would take you close to 7 years to complete and pay much more whereas PA would take 3 years. ADN + BSN + MSN is a long time when you could be practicing in half the time as a PA. As far as difference, nursing is different than medicine but I don't think it is so different that spending half as long in school is important. You can practice in a patient centered capacity in whatever you choose to do.
Actually the OP could do a 3 year NP program if he/she wanted to go full-time.