Physician Assistant vs Nurse Practioner

  1. Hello everyone,

    I'm hearing alot about the need for physician assistants. Just wondering if anyone knew the differences between being a PA and a nurse practioner? What are the differences as far as duties and salary is concerned? (just curious)
  2. Visit getbabygirl profile page

    About getbabygirl

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 92
    Nursing Assistant (STNA)


  3. by   calderon76
    I know that speaking of classes, PA requires gen chem, intro to chem, organic chem 1and 2. Also pre-calc, calc 1 and 2, and physics (needless to say college algebra is the pre req for these fun classes). Acceptance into a program is extremely competitive, candidates submit applications from around the world, and it's not offered as widely as other majors. PA salaries in the north are approximately $100,000 yr.

    I think in practice PA'S and NP's have similar responsibilities, however a PA program is much more intense. I hope this helps. good luck.
  4. by   WashYaHands
    A Physician Assistant requires a minimum Bachelor of Science degree. I understand this may change soon. They work under the supervision of a physician, and that physician is fully responsible for the actions of the PA.

    A Nurse Practitioner in most states requires or will soon require a Master of Science Degree and additional education in the area of Advance Practice (Family, Adult, Pediatric, etc.). The NP works independently, and in most states needs a collaborative agreement with a physician. The NP works under his/her RN license.

    Both the PA and the NP have similar scopes in terms of gathering health history, history of present illness, differential diagnosis, treatment and evaluation.

    My experience is that the PA is more medical model focused, and the NP is more a combination of medical model and nursing model focused.

    My ex is a PA and I am in an advance practice nursing program, our care delivery styles are like night and day. But, we still consult eachother with questions and advice when we need another point of view.

    Some of what you can do and how you can do it (how autonomous you can be) depends on the state in which you practice. Each state has different rules for the scope of practice for NP and PA. For instance, my mother is a PA in Maine, and has much more autonomy than the PA's where I live in Ohio.

    Also, as far as styles, I think that depends on the person. Overall, PA is more "medical model" than NP. However, my mom was an RN for 20+ yrs before going to PA school, so her style is necessarily more nursing-oriented. Sometimes a person's choice of which to become is based more on their education background and prereq's of a particular program.

    FYI, there is a PA program at UND (North Dakota) that is geared for RN's with at least a certain amt (I think it's 2000 working hours) of is an intensive 1 -yr program, at the end of which you are eligible to sit for PA boards. PM me if you want more info.

    Oh, and in my mom's office (Family Practice), she is considered the same "level" as the NP's..............they are all "mid-levels" (i.e. between the MD's and the Medical assistants they employ instead of nurses................don't get me started on that subject :-)...........and their salaries are comparable.