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Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

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Old 01-30-2006, 12:54 AM   #1
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Just-A-Boy HB User
Question Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant! whats the difference between these two?

And how long is the schooling for both of these?

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Old 02-24-2006, 05:40 PM   #2
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Chelle2 HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

A physicians Assistant is someone who goes to Medical School and doesn't do an internship. They are doctors and can prescribe medications. I always call them "doctors who don't have stress" (due to not going for the internship part).My primary care is a physician assistant-she's excellent. She evem does gynechological exams, PAP tests.

Nurse Practitioner, I do not know. I am guessing but I THINK that that have an equivalent to a Bachelors Degree with a certification. I went to a gynecological nurse practioner many years ago - she was excellent and that is more than I can say for most of the gynecologists I had gone to.

Last edited by Chelle2; 02-24-2006 at 05:41 PM.

Old 02-24-2006, 08:11 PM   #3
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Physician's Assistants do NOT go to medical school. They usually specialize in a science-based program, then apply to a physician assistant program. In total, it takes only 5 years to optain a physician assistant license. Actual physicians must complete their bachelor's degrees, then apply to medical school, which takes a minimum of 4 more years (a lot more than the 5 year PA program).

Last edited by moderator2; 07-02-2006 at 05:53 PM.

Old 02-24-2006, 11:10 PM   #4
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Nurse Practicioners are advanced practice nurses...with master's degrees.

Old 03-04-2006, 03:35 AM   #5
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jealibeanz HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Does anyone have more input on PA schooling and work? I'm starting a program in May! I don't want to lose my mind! I'm an anxious person in general. Actually, I'm battling mental health problems right now (seasonal depression, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, inattentive ADD). I need to get properly medicated I suppose, because I'm not doing well right now. I'm too tired to focus on school and sleep tonsss! Will medication be a problem in terms of licensing and being hired?

Old 03-30-2006, 08:25 PM   #6
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

The Physicians Assistants (PA) program was something that developed from the U.S. Army Combat Medic Program, as did the Emergency Medical Technician program; both started in the 1970ís. But there are various medical tracks, emergency medicine, adult care, pediatrics, etc for the PA program, and a person can earn a PA credential from a two-year Associate Degree Program, four-year Bachelor Degree program, Masters Degree or Doctorate Degree program, just like Registered Nurses are credentialed at various degree levels. The difference is that a PA usually does outpatient care only, unlike an RN. PAís generally work in clinics that serve their medical track. The more education a PA has the more they are allowed to do, just like an RN. The difference between a Physicianís Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner is that a Nurse Practitioner requires a Masters Degree. You can not be a Nurse Practitioner without having a Masters Degree in Nursing, and then you take the Nurse Practitioner track, which also has its specialties; Adult Care Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, etc. They may even have some PAís and NPís who pursue a generalist, eclectic, or mixed specialty track. But both of these programs were outgrowths of the combat medic programs in the U.S. military. I was a combat medic in Vietnam and that is how I know this information. I am not sure about the licensing question; there are allot of nurses who work while taking prescribed meds for various disorders, so I would think that the same applies to PA's. It depends on the severity of the disorder, whether it is required to disclose such to an employer, and the licensing laws in your State.

Here is the U.S. Department of Labor link on the occupation of Physicians Assistant and its requirements, etc.


Last edited by ZV7; 03-30-2006 at 09:18 PM.

Old 06-02-2006, 05:20 PM   #7
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aharr HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

A physician assistant and a nurse practitioner are essentialy the same. The differance is mostly the medical model they follow. A pa-c and a physician attend classes that are formated the same. A pa-c specializes in diagnosis and treatment of the sick and injured. A nurse practitioner on the other hand follows a nursing model. They have a back ground in care. Although they do treat and diagnose patents. Both perscribe meds. PA-C's can actually perform minor surgeries. Nurse practitioners typically dont. Most pa-c's have either a bachelors or a masters. Nurse pratitioners have a masters. PA-C's can practice any feild of medicine at any time, but NP's are specialized. Many pa-c's do specialize though, but can switch without any further schooling. Basically a pa-c will treat you and an np will take care of you after.

Old 06-08-2006, 07:40 PM   #8
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mae14 HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

while a nurse practitioner uses more of a nursing model, this does not mean that they are providing the patient with the "nursing" services that you would think of in a hospital. It means that in their treatment of patients, an element of nursing (eg. teaching, support, holistic care) is utilized. NP's diagnose and treat all different kinds of illnesses, injuries etc. NP's prescribe medication under their own license and DEA number. They are NOT there to take care of the patient after the PA sees them. Some facilities prefer NP's or PA and some facilities employ both under the same roof. They will both treat and diagnose your illnesses as physicians do.

Old 07-02-2006, 05:46 PM   #9
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

I'm a Physical therapist assistant, which is only a 2 year program. However, it's still an allied health profession and I'm in a similar boat as you. I used to question if I was doing the right thing while in PTA school since I suffer with anxiety, OCd and occasional depression. Don't let that bother you. Just because your'e in the health field doesn't mean you have to have perfect mental health..Nothing should stop you from pursuing your dream...Your'e only human and your'e allowed to have problems...Believe me I used to feel like you. Now, I'm older and I see that so many people have problems just like me...Do the best you can in school. You will be a compassionate PA.
I'm sure there are a lot of doctors out there who suffer with anxiety. Try to do well in school.

Old 07-06-2006, 07:48 AM   #10
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Bubblegum989 HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Originally Posted by jealibeanz
Does anyone have more input on PA schooling and work? I'm starting a program in May! I don't want to lose my mind! I'm an anxious person in general. Actually, I'm battling mental health problems right now (seasonal depression, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, inattentive ADD). I need to get properly medicated I suppose, because I'm not doing well right now. I'm too tired to focus on school and sleep tonsss! Will medication be a problem in terms of licensing and being hired?
It really depends on the program you are in. My mother went to Stanford and they took most of their classes alongside the MD students. Someone mentioned that PAs don't have a residency or internship. I believe my mom did a short internship at our local county hospital right after she graduated. I really don't remember the details, I was eight. I don't know if that is required and it probably differs from state to state.

Your program may not be quite as strenuous, and I would really look into the school. Not all PA programs are alike. My university offers one, and I would not see a PA who graduated from there if my life depended on it.

Old 07-06-2006, 07:08 PM   #11
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jealibeanz HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Is your mother a PA? What school are you at? I'm not sure that PA's learn the majority of their skills in the classroom anyhow. Classroom learning is important, but taking advantage of good teaching opportunities in the field is most likely even meaningful, assuming the person is reasonably educated.

Old 11-28-2006, 02:40 PM   #12
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pa.yelena HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants are not doctors, and they don't go to medical schools. I am a physician assistant and here is what we do: physician assistants go to a special physician assistant program after completing the required classes to enter the program (which can take about 4 years). It is a 2 year program in which the first year you are in class learning 'hard-core medicine' and then you are in clinical practice for the second year in hospitals and medical institutions. Which is like internship, but not called that in our schools. PAs can work in any field including surgery, emergency medicine, OB/GYN...etc. And yes they can prescribe medications. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who choose to continue their education. Their education takes place in nursing schools. They are generally not trained for surgical settings.
Hope this helped you.

Last edited by moderator2; 11-28-2006 at 02:41 PM.

Old 11-28-2006, 07:11 PM   #13
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Well actually there is a little more to being a nurse practitioner than previously stated. NP's are advanced practice nurses who provide high-quality health care services similar to those of a doctor. NP's diagnose and treat, focusing on health promotion, disease prevention , health education, and couseling, as well as surgical. NP's have been around since 1965. We must acquire a graduate level and above education, whereas PA's have a 4 year degree. Many NP's have doctoral degrees and by the year 2015 it will be required all new NP's hold a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree. NP's are licensed in all states and are INDEPENDENT practitioners. PA's cannot practice independently of a physician or open their own practice, NP's can. Actually, in 13 states, NP's do not even need to collaborate with a physician and many people see their NP instead of the Doctor. NP's practice in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care, private MD or NP practice, nursing homes, schools, colleges, and public health departments, to name a few. NP's also specialize in many areas- acute care, adult health, family health, gerontology, neonatal, oncology, pediatric/child, psychiatric/mental health, women's health, allergy/immunology, cardiovascular, dermatology, evergency, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, neurology, occupational health, orthopedics, pulmonology/respiratory, sports medicine, and urology. The goal is to provide the best patient care.

Old 04-20-2007, 06:30 AM   #14
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raymoa HB User
Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

Actually PA licensure vary's by state yes they generally work as representative of the physician. In Maine they are required to have a master's degree which is approximately the equivalent of two years of medical school. They are heavily used by the military especially in forward field units they are to see and treat pts only needing to collaborate on things over their licensure level whereas NP's are usually found in family practice, pediatrics, psych, and neonatology PA's are generally assistants to surgeon's and do work in ER trauma care ACLS/ATLS as well as routine issues whether or not they perscribe independantly or not they generally are more focused in procedures placement of central lines, swans, sutures etc and are often found in the Open chest/open heart arena also in neurology they are also found in practices in addition to physicians. There history stems from the military they developed as a result of Vietnam era medics coming home and being hired by physicians for there skills. As of everything eventually they were required of and developed a licensure level. Remember nobody can do anything with out the blessing of somebody state board ,facility in which they work, having a certain licensure level and the up keep of it, and or the permission of the patient and/or family. Even doctor's answer to somebody. As far as NP's needing doctorates why not just go to medical school instead of developing Dr. nurse complexes. Remember fields often educate themselves out of a job. Insurance companies are still not going to pay for an ancillary practitioner what they pay for a physician. (P.S. yes PA's do have some sort of clinical/preceptorship.) In Alaska PA's can apply for an MD after 12 years of practice.

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