1. Hello Everyone!
    I have been going back and forth on deciding whether or not to become an RN. I would love to work in the ER of a hospital rather than to be on a specific floor. Someone recently advised me of a Physicians Assistant and suggested that I go for that. Can someone please tell me the difference between the two? I know this may be a stupid question but I would really like to make up my mind on whether or not to start school. Please Help!
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    About chickey104

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 1


  3. by   RNIAM
    I don't have that information but I believe just recently there was a message about that. You can do a search and it might bring it up. Good luck in your search.
  4. by   Dr. Kate
    Since you're right at the beginning of a career search, I suggest you go to the public library and talk with the reference librarian. Tell him or her that you are interested in learning about jobs in healthcare and need some help getting started. There are lots of different things you can do in health care. Get a sense of what is out there and available to you before you start to narrow down your choices.

    Good Luck, it is a great adventure.
  5. by   colleen10

    From what I know of PA's duties, I guess you could say they are a step above RN's. ie. you have your CNA's, then your LPN's, then your RN, PA, MD. Not sure where a CRNA, etc. fits into all this.

    I believe that PA's can diagnose and prescribe medication to patients, although I believe the prescription is under written by a Doctor (MD) that the PA works under. Where as, an RN would be able to evaluate a patient but would have to refer to an MD to finalize a diagnoses and prescribe the required medications.

    I wish I knew more to tell you, but that is a very basic understanding. As for differences in education, to become a PA and go through a PA program you would end up with a "Masters" Degree. At least that is how the programs I have seen work. Here if you have a Bachelors or a BSN you can apply to a PA program which would take about 1-2 years to complete. I did see one college offer a PA program but you had to be an RN with a BSN and have been practicing as an RN for the past two years. That is the only one I have seen, thus far, that required you to be an RN.

    Generally speaking, PA's make much more money than RN's. By how much more would depend on the area.

    I have seen many PA's working in Family Practioners offices, but don't know what it would be like to be a PA in a hospital, specialized area, etc.

    I'm not sure where you are from or how far you are willing to go away to school, but I live in Pittsburgh and understand that there is an extremely good PA program at St. Francis located in Central Pennsylvania, I think. Not sure of the town but I know it isn't the St. Francis that was in Pittsburgh as they have closed down. I have a friend who is considering going for her PA and she mentioned it to me. I think it may be near Altoona, Penn.
  6. by   nessa1982
    Maybe you could get your RN and then later become a Nurse practitioner???????