Nursing Practitioner Vs Physicians Assistant

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A Nurse Practitioner is an academically advanced and experienced nurse that is qualified to treat certain medical conditions without the doctors supervision. In contrast, a Physicians Assistant refers to a person who carries out daily clinical procedures so as to help the doctor in his work. However, the assistant must get surveillance by the physician. The physician assistants must always get authority from the doctor in charge for them to perform any duties. These two professions have close similarities between them which make it difficult to identify their differences. However, they have quite some differences in them ranging from the education required and many others. Both professions require training on taking care of the sick, treating the patients in need, and attainment of a formal degree. They may look like a similar in some ways, but there is some difference between physician assistants and nurse practitioners which mainly related to the type of education that each profession requires.

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Therefore, their academics, physician assistants qualify through the Pance (general medical examination). The nurse practitioners train through a more formal exam per the population of focus (pediatrics and geriatrics). The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam is administered before one qualifies to be a Physician Assistant. A nursing practitioner, in the education area, academically advanced and experienced registered nurse before pursuing the education in the advanced practice roles. All nurses registered with the health department must have a certificate of practice. The license is applicable whenever one advances from one level of education to another. Another difference is that enrollment in a medical school is a necessary qualification for a physician. The nurse practitioner, on the other hand, requires enrollment in a school of nursing. The other notable difference is that a nurse practitioner can independently carry out some medical procedures while the physician assistance may have all the required experience to treat some conditions, but they must practice under supervision by a doctor. However, this may depend on the state laws, education level, and the qualifications achieved. In regards to re-certification, nurse practitioners must advance their studies and re-certify after a certain number of years while physician assistance must re-certify after a short period through an extra exam (Panre).

Besides, nurse practitioners can dictate their working schedule since they can perform procedures independently while on the other hand, physician assistants have to work alongside a qualified physician. A masters degree is required for one to apply for the physician assistant program. The degree must be from a recognized education program. It is also necessary for the person to have some healthcare experience. A minimum of at least four years coursework at the undergraduate level is a must for one to join the program. The coursework must also have a lot of focus in the science field. During the program, a person undergoes many hours of training in various spheres. There is also maximum supervision during the training. Therefore, a physician works for long hours as compared to a nurse since they have to be in sync with doctors. To conclude, it is evident that nurse practitioners enjoy more advantages as compared to their counterparts, the physician assistants.


Connected Health: Preparing Practitioners. (2015). Nursing Education Perspectives, 36(3), 198-201.

Mcginnity, J. (2014). Physicians Assistants in VA Medical Centers. Jama, 312(21), 2289.


Nurse Practitioner Vs. Physician Assistant. (n.d.). Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, and Continued Growth. (n.d.).

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