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brina
06-09-2010, 09:48 PM
I was wondering if anybody on this board was involved in healthcare in a way to be able to understand and explain the benefits/disadvantages of becoming a physician assistant as opposed to a nurse practitioner. I am finishing up my Chemistry degree, but it appears that in order to get a decent job in Chemistry, I will have to attend more school for it, which I'm not sure I would like to do. I was told by my aunt, that is a Doctor, that Physician's assistant is the way to go. But speaking to a Nurse practitioner, she made it sound like Nurse practitioners can make just as much but have a little more autonomy from doctors. I understand they are both mid-level healthcare providers, but the more people I ask, the more I realize that the answer details tend to depend a lot on bias. I had no idea it would be so political! Does anyone on FSU have any insight?

numbers123
06-09-2010, 10:10 PM
Comparison of PA and APRN (http://www.wapa.org/pdfs/np-pa_chart.pdf)

My experiences: my cousin is an APRN and she has great bedside manner, is employed as with a hospitalist practice. Hospitalists are those practices in a hospital setting that oversee patient care within the hospital coordinating care then any dismissal information/care is given to the primary care provider. My niece is considering becoming a neonatal nurse practioner again in the practice with the hospital setting. Both APRN's can do certain procedural things such as insertion of chest tubes, insertion of central IV and IA (intra-arterial) lines, etc. Both I consider to be awesome care providers.

My PA in the physician office that i go to is awesome. She is professional, investigates all my symtoms, some of which are difficult diagnois issues. Another PA I know is in a cardiothoracic practice, he does many diagnostic procedures like assisting with surgical procedures, etc.

I would research the practice laws in your state to help determine which you want to be.

MOIJTO
06-09-2010, 10:18 PM
My SIL is a surgical PA, the surgery center she works at is sending her back to school to get her RN, she will make more money.

Aceon6
06-09-2010, 10:22 PM
With a chemistry degree, PA training may be shorter than NP. Most states require a BSN as a pre-req to an NP program so you'd have to do at least 2 more years as an undergrad before applying. Many PA programs accept science grads.

orbitz
06-10-2010, 12:02 AM
You mentioned that you weren't sure if you want to attend more in school in order to get a good job in Chemistry but becoming a PA will require two more years of school also, the same as for getting an M.S. in Chemistry. Down the line would you rather be a research chemist, teach, ie or work in the healthcare field?

IceAlisa
06-10-2010, 12:06 AM
The PA education and training is more like that of an MD as opposed to NP which is a nursing degree. It is incredibly intense as you are taking the same courses as medical students and then some. PA's can go on to perform procedures such as assisting in surgery and so on if you are interested in that kind of thing.

numbers123 posted a pretty exhaustive comparison info sheet.

numbers123
06-10-2010, 12:27 AM
PA's can go on to perform procedures such as assisting in surgery and so on if you are interested in that kind of thing.

uh so can APRNs, I know many who have. NNP's do UA, PICC and other line insertions, do chest tube insertions, do ECMO management, etc. I know of several APRNs who work with Cardiothoriac surgeons, pediatric surgeons, pediatric oncologist surgeon practice, etc.

If brina has a degree in chemistry and looking for a shorter tract, then the PA route is better. You can get a BSN in a fast tract with a science degree (usually 18 months) but most APRN programs recommend that you have some nursing experience before going into the APRN program.

bardtoob
06-10-2010, 12:56 AM
I would go for an NP if I were to do a Masters Entry Level program because NPs can also work as RNs, RN Case Managers, Nurse Managers, Nurse Educators, Public Health Officers, Healthcare Administrators . . . and an RN license is accepted worldwide.

IceAlisa
06-10-2010, 01:06 AM
uh so can APRNs, I know many who have. NNP's do UA, PICC and other line insertions, do chest tube insertions, do ECMO management, etc. I know of several APRNs who work with Cardiothoriac surgeons, pediatric surgeons, pediatric oncologist surgeon practice, etc.

If brina has a degree in chemistry and looking for a shorter tract, then the PA route is better. You can get a BSN in a fast tract with a science degree (usually 18 months) but most APRN programs recommend that you have some nursing experience before going into the APRN program.

PA's can actually open the chest for the cardiothoracic surgeon and sow it back up. I don't know if NPs can do that.

rfisher
06-10-2010, 01:54 AM
It really varies by state what a PA or a RNPA can do as the rules are set by state boards rather than national. Look at the state in which you want to live and work and see what the differences are.

My friends with chemistry degrees all went for a PhD, MD or into something else. Even a MS in chemistry won't get you very far unless you teach in a community college. It's a good science degree to take you into a more specialized field.

mkats
06-10-2010, 01:56 AM
A good number of PA schools will also require healthcare hours - i.e. volunteering, shadowing, etc. does not count. It must be hands on, such as working as a nurse, medical assistant, EMT, paramedic, clinical research assistant, etc. I decided after junior year of college that I wanted to go to PA school, and I'm in the process now of taking an MA class in hopes of finding an MA job after graduating for a few years before applying, since most of the schools I've been looking at have flat out said that they almost never accept graduates fresh out of college.

numbers123
06-10-2010, 02:04 AM
PA's can actually open the chest for the cardiothoracic surgeon and sow it back up. I don't know if NPs can do that.

At least the one I knew did.

brina
06-10-2010, 03:29 AM
Yeah, my biggest concern about PA school is that they seem to be looking for older, experienced people from the healthcare field, not exactly people graduated fresh from college. I understand that whether it is a master's or going for a BSN or PA school, it is going to be more school, but like already mentioned by rfisher, even a masters would likely not be enough in Chemistry. I know someone with a PhD in chemistry that couldn't find a job! It just seems like too much time and effort to be in that situation, whereas the BSN accelerated programs here can be completed in 15 month or less. But anyway, my NP friend make it sound like as long as I have a decent GPA for my BSN, it won't be too bad going for the master's to become a NP. I would have to take prerequisites for both the PA and BSN programs, but with the PA program it seems like it would be less of a chance I would get in due to my lack of experience. I'm not sure I want to risk the time and money. Bartoob, my SO is studying for a field that can take him just about anywhere in the world, so that is useful information to know. I wonder if the PA program may be like that anytime soon... thanks for all your help everyone. :)

Oh and I do realize that it is recommended to work a while as an RN before going for the NP, but a friend in NP school I know said that she has had no issues working nearly full-time while studying. As long as I can support myself I don't mind the extra time, I guess.

numbers123
06-10-2010, 03:44 AM
brina - can you clear out your PM box?

GarrAarghHrumph
06-10-2010, 02:39 PM
Know that if you go back to get a second bachelors, you won't be eligible for certain types of financial aid. You'll usually be relying on certain types of loans. Thus one suggestion I have for you, if you go back for a BSN, is that in addition to applying to any other schools you desire, you also apply to some public unis in your home state. The nursing programs there tend to be of very good quality, most offer second degree programs, and they could save you some money.

While you're considering your options, continue to try to find a job as a chemist. Did you do research/lab work while you were an undergrad? You should be able to find a job as a junior chemist. Of course, I don't know where you are and what the demand is like there, but here there are jobs available - right downstairs in my company's labs - for BS Chem.