NP vs. PA

  1. I have been researching the idea of Np vs PA for quite sometime. At one time I planned on doing MD, but through a series of life events I decided it would not fit me. Their work life balance seems to great. I have my bachelors in Biology and a masters of Science that enabled me to assist in surgery. To make a very long story short, due to extreme eczema and a few acquired allergies I cannot scrub into surgery. My hands would blister swell and weep. Although I graduated with my masters I cannot work in the surgery field. At the time, I planned to continue PA school because I fell in love with some of the classes that I had with them. Working as a medical assistant, I work around many NPs. I enjoyed their patient centeredness and they are such an advocate for the patient's overall health and personal obstacles. That Moto is very dear to me. Now I applied to a ADN program which I gained admission to. I am completely wondering if there really is a difference between the NP vs PA. since I can apply to PA school now, is it worth rerouting by starting over by gaining my RN license first, working as a nurse then NP school? Do you notice a difference between the two professions and does one profession have more upward mobility than the other?
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  2. Visit MsPeachies profile page

    About MsPeachies

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 26; Likes: 24
    from VA , US

    14 Comments

  3. by   Ella26
    I am a nurse (RN), not an advanced practice nurse. So can't speak to NP or PA, but since no one else has answered, I will give it a shot.

    From what I understand, PAs are trained under the "medical" model.
    NPs are trained under the "nursing" model. With a little bit of crossover to the "medical" side being able to prescribe and what not.
    I would say NPs may have more upward mobility than PAs as they can get their DNP.
    I would not go to RN school if you think you ultimately want to be a PA and vice versa.
    Perhaps, you could job shadow each role to see what really resonates with you. Performing in the role is different than taking and loving the classes.
    I hope this helps. Good luck in whatever you decide. But, follow your heart and don't take the "roundabout" way to achieve your goals.
    Others feel free to correct me if I misstated anything...
    Last edit by Ella26 on Dec 16, '17 : Reason: Spelling
  4. by   HelloWish
    I do not understand why you'd go for NP as that would take you close to 7 years to complete and pay much more whereas PA would take 3 years. ADN + BSN + MSN is a long time when you could be practicing in half the time as a PA. As far as difference, nursing is different than medicine but I don't think it is so different that spending half as long in school is important. You can practice in a patient centered capacity in whatever you choose to do.
  5. by   cleback
    If you need to work during your education, np would be more doable than a PA program. Most pa programs highly discourage students working while in the program. On the other hand, most traditional np programs assume students will be working in the program.

    Also, would you be happy focusing on patient care? Or do you have any aspirations for a leadership position? I have only seen PAs in practice, whereas NPs seem to also get involved in hospital leadership. Not sure why that is, exactly, although a dnp program also typically has students learn about program development, eval, and some finance.

    If I were you, and I only wanted patient care practice, and could afford not to work during school, I would go the PA route honestly.
  6. by   MsPeachies
    Thank you, working in leadership positions or somehow creating a wholeness and wellness place for women down the road is a strong passion and i feel NP might be better suited. However, longer pathway
  7. by   MsPeachies
    Thank you, following my heart is really important to me. I appreciate your openness with your answers. It helps
  8. by   mhtrent
    I'm an RN, planning on becoming an NP. From my understanding np's have more independence, more training. I would do np
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to student NP forum
  10. by   BostonFNP
    If you are not planning on working in the surgical field in the provider role, than PA and NP have a very similar role and often function interchangeably.

    PA programs are 3 years, full-time, and they are generalist programs with front loaded didactic based on the medical model of education. Entry is at the masters level. PAs have to re-board every 10 years.

    NP programs are 3-6+ years, full or part time, and are specialist programs with integrated clinical and didactic based on the nursing model of education. There is also entry at the masters and doctorate level. NPs have to renew but not re-board every 5 years.

    There are some differences to consider as they might impact you later in your career. PAs have mandatory physician oversight; there is no independent practice for PAs and they fall strictly under the state Board of Medicine. NPs in nearly half the country have fully independent practice. NPs also vary by state in that they fall under the state Board of Nursing and/or Board of Medicine.


    Quote from HelloWish
    I do not understand why you'd go for NP as that would take you close to 7 years to complete and pay much more whereas PA would take 3 years. ADN + BSN + MSN is a long time when you could be practicing in half the time as a PA. As far as difference, nursing is different than medicine but I don't think it is so different that spending half as long in school is important. You can practice in a patient centered capacity in whatever you choose to do.
    Actually the OP could do a 3 year NP program if he/she wanted to go full-time.
  11. by   elkpark
    If you already have a BS in bio and a Master's, why an ADN program? Are you aware of the direct entry NP programs for individuals who already have a BA/BS in something else (but no nursing background)? They are typically 2-3 yrs of full-time study (no ADN, BSN, or nursing experience required), similar to PA programs.
  12. by   MsPeachies
    Well at this time I cannot relocate out of my current area.where I am located there are no direct Np programs sadly
  13. by   elijahvegas
    Quote from cleback
    If you need to work during your education, np would be more doable than a PA program. Most pa programs highly discourage students working while in the program. On the other hand, most traditional np programs assume students will be working in the program.

    Also, would you be happy focusing on patient care? Or do you have any aspirations for a leadership position? I have only seen PAs in practice, whereas NPs seem to also get involved in hospital leadership. Not sure why that is, exactly, although a dnp program also typically has students learn about program development, eval, and some finance.

    If I were you, and I only wanted patient care practice, and could afford not to work during school, I would go the PA route honestly.
    Everything about this is wrong.
  14. by   BostonFNP
    Quote from MsPeachies
    Well at this time I cannot relocate out of my current area.where I am located there are no direct Np programs sadly
    If you are unable to relocate then you need to do an extensive job market evaluation before you consider school.

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