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Would you do it over again?


Hey everybody! I am currently in my last year of nursing school, and will be graduating with my BSN in April 2013. I know that I would like to continue my education, and I am thinking of either going the NP or PA route. I know that NP seems to be the most "natural" extension of my education, but I can't help wanting a little more of the medicine side of things (I debated pre-med and nursing for undergrad for a very long time). I know both professions are very important to healthcare.

So my question is, are there any NP's out there that would have went the PA route if they would have done it again?

Thanks :)


Specializes in ICU, CV-Thoracic Sx, Internal Medicine. Has 11 years experience.

I would have gone the med school route.

But, I love being an NP. So don't misunderstand me as saying that I regret my decision.

I think PA's have a great educational program structure. You can't go wrong with either the PA or NP route.


Specializes in ER and family advanced nursing practice.

Very little difference in pay, and I am not aware of differences in patient outcomes. There is a big difference in pre reqs and student loan burdens with PA programs having/resulting in more of both. PA schools are often very competitive and may require relocation. I would think PA school is harder on the family life. Additionally, it is harder to work a "day" job while in PA school. NP school can be full time, part time, traditional brick/mortar, or online. All of these give NP students far more flexibility, again, to get a job with similar, if not exact, job descriptions, and very similar pay.

Now if you are single, don't mind relocating, and have the time/money for the pre reqs and going through a program that may be difficult to work while in school, then PA may be for you. I work with PAs, and I think they are great. The other thing to consider is that some markets prefer to work with PAs just as some markets prefer NPs. That may be hard to determine if you don't live in a given area. Where I live it is fairly mixed, but there are some local practices that prefer one or the other.

Hope I am not coming off as "anti-PA". I am not. It is just IMHO far more practical for RNs to become NPs than PAs.



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

Either are fine, I've worked alongside a PA my entire NP career.

I believe (my opinion only) that PAs are more surgically and broadly prepared for just about any job out of school. As Ivan noted, it's going to be a load to go thru a PA program vs NP school without much difference in pay after graduation.

I'd look at your geographics and examine all options. I don't believe you can go wrong either way.

I think it really depends on your specialty interest, career goals, and where you plan on practicing. I was considering both PA and NP school for a long time. I went with NP because I am going into psych. I prefer the NP training model over the PA training model when it comes to mental health, mainly because as a NP I will be licensed to provide therapy and will receive more in-depth psych training (as opposed to the generalist medical training PAs receive). Furthermore, I'm interested in having a hand in research and teaching during my career, and it seems like opportunities are more plentiful within nursing. Lastly, I do plan on practicing in an independent practice state (most likely WA or OR) and that also made me favor nursing. PAs and NPs essentially do the same jobs and receive the same pay, you really can't go wrong with either career. Good luck deciding!

BlueDevil,DNP, DNP, RN

Specializes in FNP, ONP. Has 25 years experience.

I went to NP school with the intention of being an autonomous provider. I would never consider working anywhere that didn't offer fully equal and independent practice privileges for nurse practitioners. So no, I would never have considered PA school for this reason. I have no regrets.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

I'm going to be the naysayer in this group. Nope, I wouldn't have pursued this - I was very very happy in the ER where I worked. However, I knew that as I aged (I even hate typing this), it would be hard to keep up that pace.

So, I opted out for the APN role. Although I like my job and love the salary and benefits; and I work for and with some awesome folks, the litigious nature of this job makes it impossible to ever relax.

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care. Has 27 years experience.

So my question is, are there any NP's out there that would have went the PA route if they would have done it again?

I did briefly consider the PA route after listening to a few advice from others who were familiar with both roles during a time when I myself had no idea what NP's and PA's do. Obviously, I applied, attended, and finished the ACNP program. It wasn't because the outlook for jobs are better for NP's at the time, in fact, early in my training I was discouraged when I was seeing more openings for PA's. Getting a master's degree and being an NP felt like a natural progression of my nursing career -- a new stage that could open doors to further progression years into my future career (i.e., PhD, academia, research). Looking back, I couldn't be happier. I have had the kind of jobs I wanted to have as an NP. There are PA's in a similar role, though for the most part, the departments I've worked for have only hired NP's.