NP vs. CRNA vs. PA

  1. I'm new to and I have found this to be so informative!
    I'm 21 and I'm currently waiting to start nursing school in fall of 2013 in New Jersey! And I couldn't be anymore excited.
    I've always wanted to be in the medical field specifically a doctor but that's just too much for me. I want to have a family and be involved 150%. I've worked with doctors all my life and I know how hard it is to have provide a balance.
    With that being said, nursing was the next option. I really fell in love with it in high school since we had different academic programs biomedical (nursing and paramedics), business, culinary, etc.
    I recently worked with a Physician Assistant and I loved how she was able to do everything and anything. Whereas, a nurse practitioner has to specialize and CRNA only work with anesthesia, etc. Physician Assistants are also trained in the medical model rather than with the nursing model.
    I'm just very confused with where I want to get to.
    I was wondering if anyone had an insight/inside information on these three great careers.

    Also since I'm starting nursing school soon, any advice? What do i need to get through the shifts? Other than a stethoscope, pens, alcohol pads, do i need to invest in anything else?
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    About Janice530

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 6
    Medical Receptionist; from US


  3. by   missnurse01
    If you are looking at PA then why not do that rather than nursing school? Or are you going to apply after you graduate. I know they like applicants with prior healthcare experience and I know a few PAs that were nurses first.

    If you are not certain yet, I would shadow further advanced practitioners' to see how different the jobs are, and in different specialties.

    good luck
  4. by   SycamoreGuy
    You always hear "PAs follow medicine, and NPs follow nursing" but in practice there really isn't a difference. True, PAs can go from specialty to specialty as long as they find a physician willing to train them. NPs are a little bit more restricted but they still have a lot of flexibility, especially FNPs.
  5. by   Topher53
    I personally would like to be a CRNA when I grow up. It's all preference. You're already going through nursing school, which is about 1/2 of the time needed to become a nurse anesthetist.
  6. by   hodgieRN
    Congrats on getting accepted! All you need for nursing school is a stethoscope. a pen, and your uniform. Nothing else is really needed. Maybe a clipboard. I remember students who bought kits, B/p cuffs, pen lights and never used it. One of them even bought a finger oxygen saturation monitor. Pens lights, alcohol pads, and b/p cuffs are all at the hospital. Anything you need for lab... will be in the lab (unless they specifically tell you that you need to need to buy it, but that is close to none). If they "recommend" something, don't buy it b/c the hospital will have it and you can practice to your heard content, all day long on real patients. Why spend money on a b/p cuff to use at home when you can use one on site. I would even recommend that you don't spend a lot of money on a stethoscope. The first one is either lost or borrowed and never returned. Get your good stethoscope when you become an RN as a graduation gift. Scopes aren't really effective until you have a well trained ear. And definitely don't buy a pediatric scope during your peds rotation. The one you will have will work just fine with the bell. The only thing you should really spend money on is what you need for lecture. Go nuts on pens, highlighters, colored paperclips, flash cards, paper, etc. Your studying will be the deciding factor in school...not gadgets.

    It's great that you are eager to further your career after graduation. As a nurse, you will be able to see the differences between the two professions. As said before, NP's are taught with the nursing model in school, but there is no difference when a NP or a PA treats a diagnosis. It's kind of like arguing the difference between MDs and DOs. They are two different schools of thought, but they aren't really that different. They are both doctors. NPs and PA are both practitioners. There's just difference in fine print. You will have plenty of time to witness the two during your career.. One day, you will be able to make a decision. Nursing school will be good step into the medical world.
  7. by   Miiki
    The previous poster's is giving experience from his/her school.

    My school requires that we buy skill packs the first three semesters. The first (pre-nursing) is the stethoscope, bp cuff, pen light, and a few other basics. The second is stuff for pharmacology clinical like fake drugs, iv kits, tubing, and needles. I don't know what's in the third.

    I bought two sets of uniforms, since I wear them twice a week this semester. I'll buy another set if I have to wear them more often later.

    My school is very good about giving costs and requirements (skill packs, uniforms, books, immunizations, state BON requirements) months in advance even when the skill packs won't be ready until closer to the semester.
  8. by   Ackeem
    sounds to me that you rather the medicine model rather than nursing model with that being establish i suggest you go the PA route. it seems your rather interested in treating the disease of the patient rather than caring for the patient themselves. Also the PA is quite straight forward, while the NP and CRNA are the contrary considering that you must practice as an RN (BSN) for a number of years before you actually get accepted in a NP program not to mention a CRNA program which are very competitive, so you have to want to become a nurse in general.
  9. by   queserasera
    Clearly you're interested in nursing, otherwise you wouldn't have applied to nursing school
    I think that as you advance in your nursing education you'll find your path as so many do.

    I'm going to nursing school but am leaving my options open for what ever I'm pulled to afterword. I know I'll want to further my education after my bachelors, in what I am also unsure. I've thought NP maybe thought getting a masters in public health to serve underserved urban areas (I'm around Baltimore).

    I've also thought that maybe I'll want to go to medical school. I just don't know, and at the age of 23 I think I have the right to not know and allow myself to explore all of my options. All I know is I want to provide health care. I want to have a hand in peoples recovery whether it be the care or medical model.

    I hope you'll figure out what you want to do without having people judge you for "taking up a nursing spot". You have the right to, since you got in over the people who didn't! People who work hard get to do whatever they want!!
  10. by   AM326
    I vote you going the PA route. Also, I don't think you would need very much for Nursing School. Some schools require an ipad but not many. I'm sure a pen, stethoscope, and pens. Everything else should be provided for you
  11. by   kwarden
    I am pretty sure that the laws regarding any of those careers are changing. They will no longer be a masters degree pyrogen. I would check your area to make sure what those laws are. Here in Utah, they will be a doctorate program starting 2015. I believe that as of now there aren't even masters programs available at the University of Utah. If you aren't in a program yet, you won't be grandfathered in now.
  12. by   SycamoreGuy
    If you are not interested in the NP I would recommend MD/DO over PA, unless money and time commitment is a big issue.
  13. by   knittygrittyRN
    It also depends what type of practice you want to have. In some states NPs can be pretty independent, with prescriptive authority, opening their own practices and such. Whereas a PA can't, they are delegated to and have to work under a physician in every state. There's huge debates going on now about NP and them gaining more and more freedom whereas PAs aren't. Some have stated PAs are more like technicians since they're taught guidelines whereas NPs are more focused on critical thinking and holistic care. Look into it for yourself and decide which you like.