Curious about the difference between Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant?
Recently I was part of a conversation about the difference between a nurse practitioner vs physician assistant. A few days later, a friend and co-worker shared an article from a nursing journal which provided a great explanation. I am going to summarize some of that information here.
Nurse practitioners (NP) go to nursing schools, which emphasizes patient and patient centered model.
Physician assistants (PA) attend medical school, which emphasizes pathology and adheres to a disease-centered model.
NP specialities follow patient. For instance, might specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics or women’s health.
PA specialties follow type of medicine, such as emergency medicine, family practice or internal medicine for example.
Both diagnose and treat:
NP’s focus on promoting health and preventing disease and illness.
PA performs services the physician himself might provide, under the supervision of that doctor.
NP’s work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, offices, clinics, schools, camps and nursing care facilities.
PA’s typically work in doctors’ offices and hospitals, and other healthcare settings.
NP’s are able to operate independently in some states. However, most still work within larger healthcare settings or as part of a healthcare team.
PA’s usually work full-time under a practicing surgeon or physician, and are unable to practice on their own.
NP – A Master’s degree is required to practice in any state.
PA – Most positions require candidates to possess a master’s degree.
Certification, Licensing, Recertification:
Both the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners offer certification in a specialty area for nurse practitioners. Licensing is necessary to practice, and requires a degree, an RN license, and state certification.
Physician assistants are certified through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Licensing is necessary to practice, and requires a degree and national certification. No previous license is needed, unlike in the case of a nurse practitioner.