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FNP vs PA

Posted

I am considering going back to school and wanted more information on FNP vs PA?

Also, I am a bit aprehensive in my decision in what I would like my masters degree to be in. FNP, CNS, Nurse Educator, Oncology NP. Any information would be helpful.

Also, is it easier for NP, or PA's to get jobs?

Thanks

Here goes....

PAs seem to get recruited. So far FNPs don't seem to be. That may not be the case everywhere.

PAs really do get taught specifically how to read diagnostics and provide surgical intervention. FNPs I've talk to say "we go over" x-rays and don't learn enough to suture.

PAs generally have previous healthcare experience before PA school just like FNPs have generally been RNs before FNP school. Many of the prereqs are similar. That said the curriculum of PA school is filled with biomedical science with a year of clerkships in a variety of medical specialties. FNP school is about half clinical and half nursing process. FNP seems more inexpensive, from a broad perspective and more student-friendly. PAs have a curriculum more appealing to me due to its nature. In life, they're used interchangably.

That's not all there is...just saying. Let the rebuttal commence.

linearthinker, DNP, RN

Specializes in FNP. Has 25 years experience.

NP education is widely variable, but much of what that guy said above is true for some schools, though I would not extrapolate from that to come to the conclusions he did.

In your shoes, I'd look at schools that were reasonably available to me. It seems to me that there are more NP programs, though perhaps it is just in my area. However, if there is a PA program in the same town your mother lives in, and you are going to live in her garage and she's going to babysit your fish, etc, that seems to be the logical choice, lol. And vice versa for NP.

I do agree that in life they are used almost interchangeably, so I'd advise you to choose the educational model and school that seems appropriate for your circumstances. I can't speak to recruitment issues. No one in my area is recruiting anyone! There are no PAs here (b/c there are no nearby PA programs I assume), and 8 NP jobs for the 10 local NPs. They just play musical jobs mostly, lol.

nomadcrna, CRNA, NP

Specializes in Anesthesia, Pain, Emergency Medicine. Has 30 years experience.

Speaking from a nurse practitioner veiw point and as someone who has worked extensively with both PA and NP in consultation with them as a CRNA.

There are good and bad in both professions. PAs and FNPs are interchangeable. The person decides how good they are, not the initials.

The main difference that I see is that FNPs can practice independently, at least in the states I practice in. This does not make them better only better political representation. I support the PAs getting the same independent practice but their road will be much harder since the medical boards control them.

The educators need to realize that moving to the DNP is our chance to improve our education as providers. Take out all the crap classes and put some real meat in the programs.

Just my 2 cents,

Ron

I am @ the same crossroads as well, deciding between FNP and PA. I like two specific specialties only, and I have heard one of the them is more conductive to NP and the other more or less PA OR NP. However, I really like the solid training PAs have, but the solidarity and networking opportunities and recognition that NPs receive over PAs is way better. Its also going to be a hard decision for me, but in the end I think it really depends what you make of it and how much of a go-getter you are. Best of luck.

Spacklehead, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency, Cardiac, PAT/SPU, Urgent Care. Has 14 years experience.

From what I have seen listed as PA curriculums in my area's local schools, the first year of the PA program includes: patho, pharm, ethics, H&P, PA history/role, Clinical medicine I-III, health promotion, research, clinical diagnositcs, A&P. Not much different from my FNP program (except our "medical" courses were not called "clinical medicine" - they were called clinical practice I-III). Also, the second year of the local PA programs here include 5 week rotations in various different clinical areas since they are more generalists (therefore, they rotate through more specialties) as compared to FNPs. Our rotations were a semester long in each FNP specialty component (FP, IM, Peds, OB/GYN, geriatrics, etc.).

My FNP program did teach us some basic hands-on skills that you would typically see in a FP office such as minor wound suturing, I&D, cryotherapy, etc. and we did learn to interpret EKGs and X-rays (not that I would bypass having a rad read them, though).

It definitely varies program to program - perhaps one of the problems with the NP education. There are certain requirements across the board; however, some schools incorporate extra courses/clinical hours into their programs - which is what I wanted when I researched the program I would ultimately attend.

In my neck of the woods, the job market typically advertises for both - meaning either PAs or NPs could apply for the same position. Some practices here prefer PAs, others prefer NPs. They get paid about the same.

From what I have seen listed as PA curriculums in my area's local schools, the first year of the PA program includes: patho, pharm, ethics, H&P, PA history/role, Clinical medicine I-III, health promotion, research, clinical diagnositcs, A&P. Not much different from my FNP program (except our "medical" courses were not called "clinical medicine" - they were called clinical practice I-III). Also, the second year of the local PA programs here include 5 week rotations in various different clinical areas since they are more generalists (therefore, they rotate through more specialties) as compared to FNPs. Our rotations were a semester long in each FNP specialty component (FP, IM, Peds, OB/GYN, geriatrics, etc.).

My FNP program did teach us some basic hands-on skills that you would typically see in a FP office such as minor wound suturing, I&D, cryotherapy, etc. and we did learn to interpret EKGs and X-rays (not that I would bypass having a rad read them, though).

It definitely varies program to program - perhaps one of the problems with the NP education. There are certain requirements across the board; however, some schools incorporate extra courses/clinical hours into their programs - which is what I wanted when I researched the program I would ultimately attend.

In my neck of the woods, the job market typically advertises for both - meaning either PAs or NPs could apply for the same position. Some practices here prefer PAs, others prefer NPs. They get paid about the same.

So you spent all day, everyday each for a semester rotating through FP, IM, Peds, Ob/Gyn, Geri, etc? I'm impressed. That's at least five semesters, or two and a half years, right there.

MERCEDES674, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU-Step Down, Cardiac/CHF, Telemetry, L&D. Has 6 years experience.

I would say the best thing to do is to do you own research on the programs. Next decided on what you want to do in the future. At one point in time, I wanted to be a PA. After becoming a nurse, I realized that I did not want to work for anyone else for the rest of my life. As a NP I can have my own clinic and practice independently with the collaboration of an outside MD but, as a PA you can't do that. That in itself made my decision. Basically decide on what you see yourself doing in the future.

Spacklehead, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency, Cardiac, PAT/SPU, Urgent Care. Has 14 years experience.

So you spent all day, everyday each for a semester rotating through FP, IM, Peds, Ob/Gyn, Geri, etc? I'm impressed. That's at least five semesters, or two and a half years, right there.

Really, no need for the passive-aggressive nonsense - for I never claimed I spent each and every day during a semester at clinical; nor did I state anywhere that PAs spend less time in clinical (which is obviously how you took my post). All I did was point out the differences in how clinical experiences take place between the two professions. However, yes, we were typically at one clinical site for a whole semester - we didn't rotate among different sites every 5 weeks (something that should be pointed out to a potential NP student since many NP schools want you to find your own sites which would be 10x's more difficult if we had to rotate Q 5 weeks).

I attended grad school part-time, so yes, it did take me that many semesters to complete my clinical rotations. My colleagues who were lucky enough to be able to attend school full-time could do two clinical rotations per semester where they would have to attend clinical at least 4 days/week (and finish in 2 1/2 - 3 yrs).

You're really looking far more deeper into my post for things that aren't even there (the whole PA vs. NP crap). Also, please don't come to an NP section of a nursing message board and proclaim how our education takes place according to your anecdotal information.

Ha. I'm just trying to get the facts clear. I want to know all about their educational process. For clarity, I've copied/pasted the statement in question below. I'm not dogging anything you've mentioned. I just want to know about your occupation particularly since NPs are starting pop up a lot in my area, and there's little information out there even on the websites of the dozen or so schools where I've looked the NP curricula, etc.

Also, the second year of the local PA programs here include 5 week rotations in various different clinical areas since they are more generalists (therefore, they rotate through more specialties) as compared to FNPs. Our rotations were a semester long in each FNP specialty component (FP, IM, Peds, OB/GYN, geriatrics, etc.).

Anyway, now that we're not communicating well I won't reply after this.

Edited by ImThatGuy

Spacklehead, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency, Cardiac, PAT/SPU, Urgent Care. Has 14 years experience.

Just trying to get the truth out.

Are you implying that it wasn't?

Are you implying that it wasn't?

No, but I further clarified my statement for you. Kudos though. I'm glad you're doing the job you're doing. :)

Spacklehead, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency, Cardiac, PAT/SPU, Urgent Care. Has 14 years experience.

Anyway, now that we're not communicating well I won't reply after this.

Ah, but we are! ;)

I would say the best thing to do is to do you own research on the programs. Next decided on what you want to do in the future. At one point in time, I wanted to be a PA. After becoming a nurse, I realized that I did not want to work for anyone else for the rest of my life. As a NP I can have my own clinic and practice independently with the collaboration of an outside MD but, as a PA you can't do that. That in itself made my decision. Basically decide on what you see yourself doing in the future.

The reality of practice ownership shows that, last time I looked, about 2% of NPs own their clinic. That was 4 yrs ago or so, and it may have increased, but with the economy as it is I'd be surprised. If anyone has the numbers I'd love to see it. The same factors that are pushing generalists (and specialists!) into group practice or health system ownership affect nonphysician providers as well.The numbers are similar for PAs. They can own their practice, just not 100%; state requirments vary about the nominal single-digit percentage requirement for physician ownership.The only real difference is that some states (still less than half I believe) allow true independent practice whereas PAs are always dependent practitioners. The more rural you get, the easier it is to have a PA staffed clinic with remote supervision. For the most part PAs and NPs, as it currently stands, are quite similar in terms of practice ownership.