View Full Version : Physician Assistant vs. Nurse Practitioner

Pages : 1 [2]

06-10-2010, 05:38 PM
I graduated with a biology degree and went to PA school. I wasn't at all interested in the nursing side of things and had no interest in needing to obtain a nursing degree prior to heading to NP school. I think it is more common for students to come straight out of college into PA school now than it was 15-20 years ago. Those of us in my class who had done that had a bit of an advantage because we were still used to studying, etc., versus those who had been in allied health careers for a while. It was a brutal schedule when I went, not sure if it is the same now or not. 12 months straight academic work (including the medical school level anatomy in 6 wks of summer school so we would be done before med school started) that included many classes with the medical students. Then 12 months of various clinical rotations. But 2 years to a degree like that is a good tradeoff for the brutality of the schedule IMO.

I know you can somewhat specialize after PA school - there are a few graduate programs (or at least there used to be back in the 80's...) in occupational health and surgical specialities.

06-10-2010, 06:24 PM
Direct entry nursing student here, meaning I have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field and am enrolled in a master's level program where I'll become an RN after three semester and an NP after three more (BSN and MSN awarded along the way). There are two year programs available as well if you work through the summer. Because it's a graduate-level, I'm eligible for federal Stafford loans.

In the end, NPs and PAs are pretty similar, though it does vary based on your state's practice acts. I wish we took gross anatomy like PA/MD students, but I think the RN training is invaluable. You learn how to care for PEOPLE, not diseases. I don't love doing bed baths and bed pans, but I love learning how to treat someone with dignity and attend to their physical needs during their most vulnerable time. Do some reading on the medical model versus the nursing model; they're not the same. While you may not incorporate the model you're trained under into your eventual practice, it will have a significant impact on your school experience.

06-10-2010, 09:14 PM
As I tried to explain to Brina in an email, there is some difference in a medical model of practice and a nursing model of practice. Neither one is totally the best overall. And both models need the other to provide total care for patients (clients is my preferred word, but that is not the generally accepted word). I don't wish to offend anyone but I would try to explain it in this manner.

Say someone has a open draining infected wound. Both the PA and APRN would be ordering cultures of the drainage, looking at lab results, determining the best antibiotic therapy for the infection. Let's say that it clears up, the wound looks like it is well on its way to healing. The patient goes home from the hospital. In 2 weeks the site looks as bad as it did before the patient was dismissed from the hospital. Again both professionals would look at lab results, determining what is the best treatment for the infection. Both may ask for an infectious disease doctor to some consult on the problem. Again both might consider non-compliance of medication or possiblity of another underlying disease, such as diabetes.

The PA would continue to think in terms of disease processes or noncompliance issues while the APRN might also think in terms of what it preventing the patient from doing someing.


what I dislike the most is someone telling the nurse that they are so smart they should have gone to medical school. or the either model claiming that they are the best practice model. Who is the most important person in this scenario - the patient (client). the rest of us can continue to argue until the cows come home, but in the end the patient (client) is the most important person.