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PA vs NP and Recommended Texts for the Latter

Posted

Specializes in Oncology.

Hello everyone, I'm a BSN student that is about to graduate their program. I am posting this because over the past months of researching my options, I have a couple of questions. I wanted to do PA because I felt that many NP programs I looked into looked very weak in terms of medical sciences and contain much "fluff" i.e management and research. I also feel that although I understand basic physiological/ pathological concepts, it is not enough to then go into clinical medicine which entails diagnosing and treatment. Furthermore, I like the fact that PA covered a whole spectrum of medical practices while NPs become highly specialized into one population.

I was leaning towards PA, but after much consideration, it would take me 2 years of pre-reqs on top of the added costs of post-grad per credit fees. Furthermore, PA looks like it's much more expensive in comparison. Although I admire their education, I have concluded that the best route would be to educate myself before matriculation into NP school and gain some bedside experience. I also don't mind paying the community back in bedside exp, haha! My question is if some of the NPs here would recommend using difficult texts such as Guyton and Hall Physio and Robbins Pathology; some of the more renown texts used by med schools. Also, if you can, could you please recommend some pharmacological texts used by your programs, or others you preferred. Thank you for reading this and I look forward to some input! :yes:

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

If you feel that way you should go to PA school.

Harrison's and Goodman and Gillman's, Nelson's for pedi, are the gold standard texts. Bates for physical assessment.

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ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

Thanks a lot for your recommendations! At the end of the day though, my thinking is that nothing stops me from learning on my own, so might as well save the 30-40K in educations fees. I appreciate your help.

For the most part we used same textbooks as in med school. I'd steer clear of any management and research fluff course unless you actually intend to survive or do evidence-based medicine.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

Thanks a lot for your recommendations! At the end of the day though, my thinking is that nothing stops me from learning on my own, so might as well save the 30-40K in educations fees. I appreciate your help.

You can learn it all at the local library for free ;).

There is more to it than basic book-learning though. All providers (MD, DO, PA, NP, etc) need education in management and research. Some have separate courses some are included within blocks or semester.

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ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

Got it. I appreciate the insight!

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

I have several books from the "...made ridiculously simple" series. I read a bit from patho and micro and it does break concepts down more simply and makes me have "ah ha!" moments. I am also enrolled in a Coursera course on antimicrobial use that goes pretty in depth. Several doctors on YouTube go much more in depth on topics as well.

I went FNP and feel similar to you as far as PA vs NP education. I am proud of being FNP don't get me wrong. But I am still learning on my own stuff that is a bit beyond what I learned in school. I think that's really part of it though. PA's don't know it all out of school either.

IrishIzCPNP, MSN, RN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

It's funny you feel the PA education is better. I know many who don't feel that way. I know an office that won't hire a PA because they have been unimpressed with their education and have given up on them. You have to remember that part of the NP education is the fact we were graduates of an RN program. The PA student can't say that.

I know somebody getting paid t hours working as an EMT. That's it. Nothing more. This person will have essentially no significant experience before starting the PA program.

Don't discount the NP education because unlike the PA...the NP builds on something else

zmansc, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

Re: PA vs NP education. Are the models different? Absolutely. Does one graduate not have to learn on the job? Absolutely not. Both will require you to learn on the job and to be a top notch clinician you will need to continue to learn on the job with either degree, or for that matter a MD or DO degree as well.

Re: Books. I would suggest you save your money for books and use youtube. Just about anything you want to learn about is published on youtube these days. If your not looking for college credits, you might as well take advantage of all the videos that are out there. From Khan academy videos about A&P to the Stanford 25 (?) to the ER Bootcamp folks, there are literally thousands of videos that will teach you on any subject matter you need to know. When you have all those down, you can look up the clinical standards from the various organizations JNC-8, to give you guidelines on how to treat specific types of patients. Or better yet, if your hospital has access to uptodate, use that to find the latest EBP guidelines. With all of the free resources available that are at least as good and far more current than any book, you should be able to find almost anything you need online.

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

It's funny you feel the PA education is better. I know many who don't feel that way. I know an office that won't hire a PA because they have been unimpressed with their education and have given up on them. You have to remember that part of the NP education is the fact we were graduates of an RN program. The PA student can't say that.

I know somebody getting paid t hours working as an EMT. That's it. Nothing more. This person will have essentially no significant experience before starting the PA program.

Don't discount the NP education because unlike the PA...the NP builds on something else

Interesting to hear of a clinic not being impressed with PA's! I wonder if it's a particular program in your area? I mostly know that I did NOT enjoy nursing research, nursing theory, etc. I understand the need for it but I was just waaaay more excited to get to the science and clinical based classes. I'm sure PA has some classes I wouldn't have enjoyed either. But with me going part time the first 2 years of my MSN felt like a chore with those classes. Just part of the game so I went along with it!

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

Oh and I totally LOVE nursing and my RN background as I think it gives me more insight into what patients may be up against. So I am NOT trying to downplay the nursing model! Just wish as NP some of the classes could have went more into the science of diseases, meds, treatments, etc.

IrishIzCPNP, MSN, RN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

Interesting to hear of a clinic not being impressed with PA's! I wonder if it's a particular program in your area? I mostly know that I did NOT enjoy nursing research, nursing theory, etc. I understand the need for it but I was just waaaay more excited to get to the science and clinical based classes. I'm sure PA has some classes I wouldn't have enjoyed either. But with me going part time the first 2 years of my MSN felt like a chore with those classes. Just part of the game so I went along with it!

I'm near a major city with many huge schools....so many programs. I was told they have tried them and have been unimpressed.

ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

I totally understand. Don't get me wrong, I don't look down upon NPs as many that I know are outstanding in their clinical practice, I just never really appreciated their curriculum.

ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

Thank you for the recommendations! I understand where your coming from. I also respect the NPs that I know because of their competence in their clinical practice, I just don't like the curriculum. I'll look into these resources. THANKS!

ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

You also can't discount that they go over 2000 clinical hours either geared towards medicine. That's why I don't want to bash. However after reading all of the posts, it is true that no one is ever ready coming out of school and that the best clinicians will continually learn! I'm gonna buckle down and strengthen my physio, patho, and pharm before NP school. I appreciate the insight and thank you!

ChronicSG

Specializes in Oncology.

Oh and I totally LOVE nursing and my RN background as I think it gives me more insight into what patients may be up against. So I am NOT trying to downplay the nursing model! Just wish as NP some of the classes could have went more into the science of diseases, meds, treatments, etc.

Thank you for the recommendations! I understand where your coming from. I also respect the NPs that I know because of their competence in their clinical practice, I just don't like the curriculum. I'll look into these resources. THANKS!

IrishIzCPNP, MSN, RN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

You also can't discount that they go over 2000 clinical hours either geared towards medicine. That's why I don't want to bash. However after reading all of the posts, it is true that no one is ever ready coming out of school and that the best clinicians will continually learn! I'm gonna buckle down and strengthen my physio, patho, and pharm before NP school. I appreciate the insight and thank you!

Which is nothing compared to the hours many NPs have!

And while you may not be impressed by curriculum...doesn't mean a PA is more prepared or better educated. It's interesting when NPs are preferred at some places. Maybe your preferred curriculum doesn't create a better provider.

Plus...I have to tell you that all the poor care I've received has always been from a PA. I'm at a point where we don't accept care from them. I've had way too many of them have no clue. If it was just one or two I could ignore it but it's more than that in different settings. I now refuse care from PAs. I just can't play the game anymore.

I don't bash PAs even tough they won't provide care for my family. But when people question curriculums I like to point out that the curriculum preference doesn't always mean better education and guidance and ability to practice...sometimes own presence is jaded by being tired of some stuff.

I'm sure there is a clinic out there that prefers PA's over NPs and I know for a fact there are some not so good NPs. With that being said,If you feel a PA's curriculum is better then for it. Go for the program that best fits your needs!

Edited by QuietRiot
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