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Should I go into Nursing or PA

Hello, I am 31 year old male with BS and MS in engineering and thinking of going to stable carreer. I like the fact that Nurses have stable jobs and pay is not bad. I worked in Healthcare environment before and considered doing Md/DO programs but being in school for next 10 years is not attractive to me. I would like to go in surgery field if I am going to go into it but not sure how much interactions to surgery RNs actually have. Will it be even wise for me to go into nursing if I am interested in doing hands on surgery or should I look into PA instead (not sure if PAs can even do surgeries). What do you think? Thanks for your help.


Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Med-Surg, LTC.

The roles for RNs and PAs is VASTLY different. PAs do not perform surgeries-I don't know if they assist in any way-the surgical PA I worked with basically rounded on patients after surgery and performed minor procedures such as wound debridement. RNs do scrub into surgeries-they are not the ones cutting/suturing, etc. They monitor the patient and maintain sterile technique, among other things. PAs work under the supervision of a physician, they can write orders for some things and help the physician create a treatment plan. RNs do not create medical plans of care (ordering drugs, performing surgery) but we are not just order-followers. Bedside nurses assess patients, carry out physician orders but also use nursing measures to impact patient outcomes. It's more direct/hands on.

However, that is only a late-night, brief definition. I suggest you go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook and look up the entries for each career path

BTW, if you are referring to PA vs. NP, that's a different ballgame.


Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Med-Surg, LTC.

Just re-read your post, and honestly I don't think as a PA you will be doing "hands-on surgery".


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