Your observations please

Nurses General Nursing


Just need to know how you percieve the career success(income potential,autonomy,RESPECT OF PEERS) of Nurse Practitioners vs. Physician Assistants.

Certainly some of you know people in both areas.

Physician Assistant programs will accept you after two years of related training(ADN).

I had not planned on this until I came across thier job description and pay scale and compared them simarily to Practitioners.

I have to plan for this financially and academicaly before I start my nursing program and would appreciate a little help from those of you in the "real world" where the fantasy that a recruiter of a program would want you to believe is separated by the realities of day to day patient care.

Thank you.

I am neither PA nor NP, so I can't comment to that question. However, I would like to mention that one of my instructors in nursing school worked in ER as a dual NP/PA. She said she went to a program which offered dual education. I am not sure which school this was. She lives in CA.I remember her saying that it was nice to have the scope of practice from both. Thought you might be interested.


413 Posts

I am a NP and have never heard of a dual PA/NP program. Sounds a little redundant to me. Also having to write two certification exams would not be much fun. As for the scope of practice this differs somewhat from state to state but I feel is more restrictive for PA's. For example in this state (LA) PA's cannot write perscriptions whereas NP's can. NP's can practice independently in several states whereas in no state can a PA be independent.

As far as salaries go, in most surveys you will see that PA's on average make more than NP's. This is probably due to the fact that more PA's practice in specialty areas than NP's. Specialties on average pay more than general family practice(where the majority of NP's practice) or medicine. NP's in specialty areas make just as much as PA's. As more NP's choose specialty areas you will see the average NP salary increase. I chose NP over PA as I felt there was more flexibily in the role. Many PA programs are going to a Master's program as they are seeing that NP's are slowly gaining an edge due to the increased education.


413 Posts

Just want to add that the reality is that as far as 'respect' goes, I work closely with both PA's and NP's and consider them both to be my peers. I dont see nurses or patients for that matter with different attitudes towards either. You may see some MD's however who prefer PA's to NP's as some think that because NP's can practice independently in some states (and more are pushing for this priviledge) they feel like NP's are moving into their territory (read:taking money away from them). Most of the MD's I have worked with said they prefer NP's as they see things from a nursing perspective whereas PA's are trained exclusively on the medical model.

NP's are certified and practice under their RN license. PA's are certified and practice under their supervising MD's license.

Hope this info helps!

Thank you for your replies.It's excellent to get the input from the "real World".

University of California at Davis offers an NP/PA program.

Here's one more...

Stanford School of Medicine in California offers a program where RNs are eligible for NP licensure as well as PA cert.

Wow Kona2 thanks for that website referral!

I was just looking for some source for scientific publications and software that is focused on medicine.

the information about Advanced Practitioners is also very thorough.

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.

I think that's what I want.

After having viewed a similar site for PA's

it seems NP's develop a deeper understanding of the whole scope of patient needs over several years of actual patient contact.The academic requirements of NP's also seem more practical(ADN-RN/earn a paycheck)since it can be done part time if need be in the premasters level(BSN/still earning a paycheck)while getting all that "real life" patient contact.

NP training appears more holistic in it's foundation and that's the way I think.

Besides, nurses are the true caregivers on a moment to moment basis and every nuance of the patients progress from the ER to discharge is observed and recorded.

I'm not sure what the curriculum of a PA program consists of but it seems that they are trained to think the way MD's do and whith the exception of a few I have known I don't think thats me.

Thank you so much for your effort on my behalf.

I appreciate it.


296 Posts

I agree with the previous posters, I am an NP also, and there is little use in getting both an NP and a PA. If you want autonomy- go the NP route, if you want $$$ go the PA route [in many areas of the country, PA's make more than NP's]. There are fewer 'turf' wars, because physicians like the "assistant" tacked on at the end of the "PA's" badge. I know PA practice in my state is very restrictive, as even the SIZE of the FONT used to print the PA's badge is specified in the regulations [16 font-docs want it nice and big so that no one mistakes the PA for the MD].

Consider carefully, and good luck with whatever you decide.


Tis with our judgements as our watches, none go just alike, yet, each believes his own.

-Alexander Pope

Sounds like MDs would rather that PAs wear orange jumpsuits!ha.ha.

I think that autonomy is important to my own mental health in this case.I can always consult a physiscian if need be.It's never difficult to get an opinion out of an MD.

That's just the insight I need to start forming an opinion myself.

Thank you.

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