Scope of practice in the emergency department


Hello all! I wanted to know what the scope of practice was like of a aprn as compared to a pa in the ED. I am a bsn student and currently torn between being a fnp and a pa. Which profession can see more acutely Ill pts?


1,413 Posts

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

They're credentialed by the hospital. When I was in the ED, you could look on the intranet and view their credentials. The ED PAs and NPs had the same documents with the second scope. The NPs were all family practice.

Specializes in Emergency, MCCU, Surgical/ENT, Hep Trans. Has 20 years experience.

Probably depends on the comfort level of each provider. I work along side a PA, we see the same thing and bounce off questions all the time. She was trained more surgically, I have been UCC/EM, so its a mixed bag. She generally asks more questions of me. There are plus/minus of each, depending on region. If you want more "hands on" I would suggest the PA route, but again, each school is different. I chose Adult NP, so there wasn't much EM in the curriculum. I had to do a lot of reading and observing, watch one, do one from my EM faculty/residents when first starting. It takes about 3-5 years to get comfortable, but there are still those days...


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Our local EDs have hired only NPs. I believe there are regional differences, though.