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Becoming a NP


I am very curious about becoming a nurse practitioner and can find very little information about it. This seems like an area that I would like to go into, but then again, I'm not quite sure what it involves and where I could work.

I also want to know what the difference is between a NP and a PA.

Thanks all!!


You might try the web page for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. They have quite a bit of information. There are also other web sites geared toward NPs. I think one of the main sites is NP Central (but could be wrong about this).

I think one of the main differences between PAs and NPs is that NPs (in most states) can practice autonomous of a physician, (as in start up a for-profit clinic with colleagues) while paying a physician to be bound to a collaborative practice agreement (meaning that they are the go-to person for referencing, but they do not have to be on the premise at any time, or very little of the time). PAs are not able to do this.

There are other differences, but you would have to consult the scope of practice for your state to find the finer points.

The education is also different for PAs and NPs, depending on what school you attend. There are over 280 NPs programs in the country, but I would not attend any below the top 50, and try to shoot for the top 25 if possible. Penn has an excellent program, as does UCSF.

Good luck.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 43 years experience.

Check out NP Central @ http://www.nurse.net/np/.

Has excellent description of this specialty, a brochure and many links, including salary ranges.

NP professional association is the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.


Looking for colleges with NP programs? You can locate a school by state at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website.

Go to:http://www.aacn.nche.edu/

Thanks for all of the info!! I checked them out and found two programs in the area that I am located. Looks like a good long term goal for me.

One more question. Where do NP's practice? My main area of interest is ICU/ER.

Just a word of caution: I'd advise you to check out the job situation for NPs where you intend to live and practice. In many parts of the country there are gluts of AP nurses. Most of my friends who went for their MSN/NP have ended up back doing floor nursing for no extra cash.

I wish you well and support your efforts towards advancement....just be aware that the current nurse shortage doesn't necessarily translate to an opportunity bonanza for AP nurses.


If you main interest is ICU/ER and you want to stay in a hospital setting my suggestion is to look for an Acute Care NP program. Most other specialties are geared towards primary care such as Family/Peds/Adult NP.

I also agree that in some places the market for NP's is saturated. Especially in those places close to an existing NP school. Right now there are places where you can make more as a RN due to the RN shortage. But if you are willing to relocate and/or be innovative and entrepreneurial there still are lots of opportunities for NP's.

As a ACNP, I can vouch for the previous two posts. They are absolutely correct.

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