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Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:31 PM   #16
tara g
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

The fundamental difference between PA's and NP's, as midlevel medical providers, is that the PA is able to work and switch to virtually any medical specialty area of practice while the NP is focused into a particular primary care area.

Because of the collaborative basis of PA practice (working under the supervision of physicians), an opportunity for continuing and diverse expertise in many specialty areas is possible.

This allows situations where, for example, a PA who switches from an orthopedics (or cardiology) practice to emergency medicine may provide more musculoskeletal injury (cardiology) experience and understanding to this new setting, than the supervising ER doctor.

This maneuverability between specialties, creates not only a career choice of unlimited professional growth possibilities and also can add a unique (generalist with multiple specialty training) dimension to any healthcare specialty team.

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Old 08-15-2011, 06:21 PM   #17
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

NP's can also do specialties once they have their general field training. My ortho has one..and several PA's. He needs and wants both. So does my rheumatologist. Many practices have both as both have training that differs and both are needed. And the PA has to have all scripts counter signed and the NP doesn't. Having an NP around gives the doc more time as he/she doesn't have to spend time approving treatment plans and scripts done by the NP. The NP offers more freedom to the doc's office if they work within a practice.

My DIL trained at Mass. Gen Hosp./Harvard Med. She took the same pharmacy class as the docs took. Her in-field training was extensive. Her training was a Master's level but 3 years long. She is in pediatrics and did ER training and in-patient and out-patient and chronically ill kids and high risk name it. The training is different. Broad based and by age group.

A PA specializes and gets to know all about their field. I have a neurosurgical PA who is great...rather see her than the surgeon. But she knows very little about the biological drugs I take for RA. But my NP DIL can deal with everything from abuse issues to teens with sexual issues and date rape and teens with babies all the way down to newborns with genetic problems, autism, preemies and community health issues with children, school issues, she does it all. Her training is broad based whereas the PA is very specific.....both are needed.

They are different fields and each has it's own pros and cons. Some want to stay with a doc and work alongside them and others want the freedom to have their own practice. Both work hard to get what they want.

Why keep picking them apart? We need both. One is broad based and one is highly specific. As more and more docs go into specialties, we need the broad based training of the NP to take up the slack. Every year, fewer and fewer docs are going into pediatrics or adult medicine or the new field of geriatrics. It doesn't pay as well as specializing. So NP's fill the gap...thank goodness someone does. In many areas, especially poor communities(like where my DIL is)the NP is the only pediatrician most kids see as the docs have left.

Both are hard training and both are very needed and appreciated. Why can't you leave it at that. Stop the competition...we need both for sure.

An NP's MIL.

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ellwoodis (11-03-2011)
Old 11-01-2011, 11:06 PM   #18
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Re: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

I appreciate your insights into the difference between the two.
Does the added autonomy of the NP translate into more job openings?
My brother is a PA-C and can't seem to find work, but he's tied to a family in a major metropolitan area.
I believe employment will be a more important factor than "average" salary in the coming years.
What is your insight into the demand for NP's who want to work in the mental health profession?
I'm a psychologist by training.

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