Discuss about the nurse practitioner vs physician assistant

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Nurse practitioner vs Physician assistant

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Professor and class,

Before nursing school, I was always conflicted between becoming a nurse practitioner(NP) or physician assistant(PA). I initially went to my university to become a physician assistant but my passion was always to be a nurse, so after graduating with my bachelor's degree in Health Science I decided to go to school for nursing and now NP.

Nurse practitioners (NP) are a more advanced and experienced registered nurse. "In fact, a registered nurse acquires a nurse practitioner certification when he or she advances from a bachelor's degree (BN) to a master's or doctoral degree and qualifies through a national exam" (Cresswell, n.d.).

Nurse practitioners must NPs has to renew their certification every five years. To recertify, NPs needs the minimum of 1000 hours of clinical practice over a span of five years, 75 hours of patient contact of CEs, which is relevant to their role or job description. Specialized nursing continuing education depends on their specialty and have clinical hours in their specialty field. NP must also meet other requirements by the state. NPs can work in any healthcare setting including hospital, private practice, NP-lead independent clinics, ambulatory clinics or long-term care facilities (Ungvarsky, 2017).

Physician Assistant (PA) must obtain a bachelors degree before attempting a masters degree. The minimum requirement for a physician assistant is to have some patient contact. After earning a master's degree, they must take a national certification exam, known as PANCE, which they must work under a physician credentials. PA's must follow their stated requirements. During their recertification, they must take another examination, known as the PANRE. "Physician assistants work under physician and surgeons; they are typically found in doctors' offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings" (Nurse Practitioner Vs. Physician Assistant, 2017).

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are somewhat similar. These similarities are so similar that people have a hard time differentiating between the two specialties.


The difference between a PA and NP is the education they obtain. PA's take a more general medical examination, known as PANCE. PA's are trained with medical students and do not have to complete a residency. NPs have to take an exam that is more accurate towards their specialty and must have experience as a BSN. PAs and NPs can prescribe medications. However, NPs must apply by their state for that privilege.

Another difference is that PAs must work under the supervision of a physician. They can perform certain duties. However, they must have the authorization of a medical practitioner first. NPs have more freedom to practice on their own with being supervised, depending on the state law, level of education, and additional certifications and qualifications achieved.

Since PAs must work in close collaboration with a physician, the number of hours they can work must be carefully monitored to the doctor hours. And because NPs can work more independently in some states then they can work when they want and how long they want.


"The average income for physician assistants is $102,090, or about $49 an hour, though at the high end of the salary range they may make more than $142,000 per year. Nurse practitioners earn an average salary of $104,610 per year, or roughly $50 an hour, slightly more than physician assistants. The top ten percent, typically those with considerable experience, earn an average of $140,930 per year" (Nurse Practitioner Vs. Physician Assistant, 2017).


Cresswell, S. (2013). What's the Difference Between a Physician Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner and What Should You Choose.

Reference no: EM131667671

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