Friday, August 24, 2012

Nurse Practitioner Vs. Physician Assistant: What Should You Choose?

The allied health professions have rapidly proliferated in the last two decades. Making sense of all the variations on a mid-level provider takes some effort. This guest post from Atlanta Home Care helps shed some light on the matter: 

Differentiating between the two professions poses to be a confusion among people but both the professions- Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant require a formal degree of education and are about taking care of the ill and delivering healthcare facilities to the ones in need. These two sorts of professions are somewhat different but there are many similarities. This article will help you understand the two professions in detail and consequently will clear out the confusion.

It is important to understand the real differences between a Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant. At first glance, they may appear to be the same but doctors and those in the field of medicine can tell you exactly what the difference between the two professions is.

There is a difference between a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner has to be a registered nurse. A nurse practitioner is more experienced and academically advanced than a registered nurse is. A registered nurse becomes a nurse practitioner when they advance from a bachelor’s level education to a Master’s degree qualification.

The work and duties of a Physician assistant will encompass taking care of the patients, diagnosing their problems and providing them with health care under the supervision of a registered physician. Physician assistants can also make prescriptions but only under the guidance and help of the qualified physicians. The final authority lies with the qualified physician. Where as a Nurse practitioner has greater independence and carries out his tasks in providing healthcare and assistance independently.

Now considering the issue of salaries and pays, a nurse practitioner is more qualified than a Physician assistant and consequently earns more money than a Physician assistant, as it is the case in almost every line of work. But in many states it is only a matter of experience. Many states will fix salaries according to the number of years that they have practiced and served.

The Physician assistant has to work in sync with the qualified physician therefore their number of working hours is very closely related to the number of working hours of a physician. However the nurse practitioners are more autonomous in that case. Since they work solo, they decide when and for how long they work. As they work independently they rule their own professional lives and routine.

One major difference in the practice of Nurse practitioners and physician assistants is that Physician assistant offers almost the same services as a qualified physician, which includes treatment and diagnosis where as a nurse practitioner’s job is only limited to basic health care and prescription.

One other difference is that physician assistants are responsible for the qualified physician’s duties as well as their own whereas the nurse practitioner is responsible only for himself.

Keeping the above points in mind, it all depends on what you can manage and who you want to be. Both of these options are excellent considering the help you will be to the sick people. But at the end of the day it boils down to what you want.

Atlanta Home Care can provide you with expert and licensed care takers and nurses who would be extremely gentle, kind and amiable. Our nurses are certified by the Georgian state and provide services for all including senior citizens.


  1. Being a PA and a PA and NP advocate for many, many years, this is so wrong it's laughable.
    There is little difference between an NP and PA.
    PAs are better trained in surgery and Er and that is changing. NPs used to be a bit better in peers and women's health and that is changing. Both are completely autonomous a few years out of school and many are as good as the physicians they work with.
    Other than that few if any differences.
    Dave Mittman, PA, DFAAPA

  2. This is a great piece - my parents are always going to their doctor and getting the PA and sometimes NP and wondered the difference. We will have to share this one. Thank you.



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