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Mid Level practitioner best for surgery.

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by apjacobs apjacobs (New Member) New Member

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PA??? NP??? Something else?!

  1. 1. PA??? NP??? Something else?!

    • PA
      17
    • NP
      5
    • Something else (explain please)
      1

23 members have participated

Hello,

I am a RN BSN who has worked in MS for 3 and a half years (CMSRN and whatnot) who also got into PICC nursing on the side about a year and a half in. It was at that point I discovered that I liked doing procedures more than anything else. As such, I have a large interest in doing some kind of surgery some day. I have always been more attracted to the technical aside of healthcare rather than the holistic and I want my next move to reflect that. I know the debate of PA vs NP will forever cause a general rabble rabble to break out, but I personally feel that because my goals are aligned to surgery/procedural side of healthcare that going for a PA-C is better despite the whole autonomy lobbying deal. Right now Im a travel nurse and my last rotation will hopefully set me up to start schooling wherever that may be. Also, I only just got out of the army nurse corp, so my experience with PAs has been pretty exclusively military. I know its different on the civy side.

Top choices:

Intervention Radiology

Cardiac (Catheterizations)

Orthopedics

General

as you can see, I prefer the minimally invasive side of house so if there is some kind of other surgical sub specialty you can recommend I'm all ears!

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178 Posts; 4,471 Profile Views

If you are hard set on surgery usually the only way to do anything more than simple ID, sutures, assisting is to be a doctor. If this is out of the question all else aside surgeons are more likely to hire PAs than nps since they have more training in that aspect. But i don't know your life situation so the rest is up to you.

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1,871 Posts; 22,685 Profile Views

For procedures I see PAs used way more often than NPs.

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

4 Articles; 8,689 Posts; 103,222 Profile Views

I work in the OR and have spent some time observing cath lab procedures.

So, let's look at your top choices:

Intervention Radiology

I know of a PA who worked in this area, but not sure what she was allowed to do.

Cardiac (Catheterizations)

I have never seen a PA or NP involved in the cath itself. The cath is done by the cardiologist with cath lab techs handing up supplies. The only involvement of an NP or PA in cardiology is rounding on patients.

Orthopedics

Never seen an ortho NP in my OR. Have seen several PAs. They hold retractors, hold leg positions during joint replacements, and suture the incision closed. They also round on patients on the floors and see consults.

General

Nope, no NPs in the OR here either. They round on the post op patients on the floor and handle discharge orders for same day surgery patients. PAs, on the other hand, do work in the OR. They can suture, hold retractors, use the bovie, and fire a stapler as long as the surgeon has placed it.

I would suggest researching the role of the first assistant in the OR and decide if it is for you. If you really want to be the one doing the procedures, then you're going to need to be an MD or DO.

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Alicia777 specializes in Surgery.

268 Posts; 5,835 Profile Views

Popular topic lately! I work as a surgical FNP RNFA in a specialty (I don't want to give everything away here on AN). I assist in General surgery occasionally and Ortho as well.

My background was as an OR nurse for 10+ years before this position. I would say others are correct, mostly PAs are in the OR, but as you can see it's not out of the realm for an NP. Added bonus, the pay is great and I don't have to bill!

I've never heard of an RN going for PA .. Why not try and beef up your experience in procedures as an RN and go ahead with NP? I would also suggest referring to your BON for laws regarding APNs and assisting because all states are not alike..

Edited by Alicia777

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MallysMama has 6 years experience and specializes in ICU.

281 Posts; 6,785 Profile Views

I second Alicia's comments!

My hospital uses NPs in the OR almost as often as PAs (from what I've seen)...though they use residents even more (since its a teaching hospital). I know of one NP that has done cardiac caths too (before coming here). So- it may not be common, but it can be done!

My suggestion is to find an NP program that will work with you and your goals. My program director is very supportive of my goal to work as a surgical NP- and is trying to make sure I have some quality OR rotations! All of my preceptors have been great about it too- so even if their specialty isn't surgery, they've all gotten me into the OR (from assisting with a vasectomy to just watching an LVAD). So, I'm a firm believer that the program you choose can be helpful or hurtful in your future career goals! And also that you get out of it what you put into it!

Good luck with your decision!

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BostonFNP specializes in Adult Internal Medicine, Hospitalist.

3 Articles; 5,223 Posts; 54,450 Profile Views

Honestly, if you want to do surgery than serious consider medical school. While NPs and PAs have a role surgically it is always an assist role. If that's what you want probably either would be ok with a lean towards PA.

I honestly don't see a day in the US where NP or PA will be the primary in major surgery.

And the term "mid-level", in my opinion, shouldn't be used at all, at least for NPs!

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2 Articles; 2,806 Posts; 41,031 Profile Views

You can work in Kroger meat market and do all kinds of surgery. Don't have to worry about malpractice either.

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38 Posts; 1,065 Profile Views

My goal is to become a Surgical NP as well. If you don't mind me asking what school do you attend and what route did you go such as FNP, ACNP, etc? Sorry for the late questions.

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38 Posts; 1,065 Profile Views

I second Alicia's comments!

My hospital uses NPs in the OR almost as often as PAs (from what I've seen)...though they use residents even more (since its a teaching hospital). I know of one NP that has done cardiac caths too (before coming here). So- it may not be common, but it can be done!

My suggestion is to find an NP program that will work with you and your goals. My program director is very supportive of my goal to work as a surgical NP- and is trying to make sure I have some quality OR rotations! All of my preceptors have been great about it too- so even if their specialty isn't surgery, they've all gotten me into the OR (from assisting with a vasectomy to just watching an LVAD). So, I'm a firm believer that the program you choose can be helpful or hurtful in your future career goals! And also that you get out of it what you put into it!

Good luck with your decision!

My goal is to become a Surgical NP as well. If you don't mind me asking what school do you attend and what route did you go FNP, ACNP, etc? Sorry for the late questions.

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MallysMama has 6 years experience and specializes in ICU.

281 Posts; 6,785 Profile Views

My goal is to become a Surgical NP as well. If you don't mind me asking what school do you attend and what route did you go FNP, ACNP, etc? Sorry for the late questions.

OHSU and AGACNP.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions!

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cayenne06 has 10 years experience as a MSN, CNM and specializes in Reproductive & Public Health.

1,389 Posts; 18,012 Profile Views

I'm definitely much more used to seeing PAs in the OR than nurse practitioner- the only APRNs I see in the OR on any sort of regular basis are midwives and of course CRNAs. I disagree with the poster who said that the OP should just go back to medical school- you can definitely have a professionally satisfying career that involves surgery without being an MD. Yes, you won't be a surgeon and won't be leading an OR team, but being first assist in surgery is very hands on- you aren't standing there dutifully passing instruments.

I think you should try to do some shadowing in each specialty. IR and cardiac cath are a very different type of surgery than, say orthopedics. I feel like NPs might be more common in IR, but I could be making that up. So if that is an interest, it might be an easier career switch to just go for your NP, who knows.

I loved loved loved doing first assist for c/sections and repairing perineal lacerations when I worked inpatient- so interesting, and a definite sense of a job well done when everything is put back together how it's supposed to be, and everyone is safe. I do miss it sometimes, but I thoroughly enjoy doing office based procedures, some of which would be considered minor "surgery." So I get my itch scratched that way.

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