Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are advanced healthcare professionals found in many health organizations. At first glance, determining the differences between the occupations might not be clear. Both Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and work closely with primary care physicians. The differences lie in the training and education of each specialty. If you find both positions intriguing but are not sure which to choose, continue reading to determine your best fit.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants hold an important place in the healthcare system. These advanced roles offer some of the best opportunities available for healthcare professionals looking to expand their scope of practice, enjoy greater autonomy, take on more responsibility, and, of course, earn a better salary.Some responsibilities are common for both.
- Prescribe medication
- Obtain medical histories
- Perform physical assessments and examinations
- Diagnose and treat common sicknesses and wounds
- Administer vaccinations, screenings and physicals
- Perform and decipher diagnostic and laboratory studies
- Counsel and show wellbeing and sustenance
- Screen and refer patients to specialists and other healthcare providers
One of the main differences between the two professions can be seen in the different ways they approach patient care, and the training they receive around the different practice models used to prepare them for clinical practice. While nurse practitioners are trained in accordance with the nursing model, physician assistants attend programs that are more in accordance with the medicinal model, so thus they rise with various perspectives and methods of insight about patient care.
Nurse practitioners follow a patient-centred model, while physician assistants adhere to a disease-centred model. This is a truly mind boggling and nuanced refinement that begins to bode well when you begin to consider nursing or prescription at a propelled level.
This important difference influences the different specializations available to Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. From the time they enter their graduate program, every Nurse Practitioner chooses a specific patient population focus as a primary specialty. This might be pediatrics, geriatrics or women’s health, for instance. Physician assistants, on the other hand, more often specialize in a particular area of medicine, like emergency medicine or internal medicine.
Even though most Physician Assistants work in collaboration with a designated physician, this rarely means working under direct supervision. Naturally, Physician Assistants are found in specialists’ workplaces, doctors’ offices, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other settings where they work as part of a team alongside MDs and other healthcare professionals.
Physician Assistants work in a variety of settings, including:
- Surgeon Assistant – assists surgeons in the operating room
- Neonatology Assistant – assists in the care of newborns
- Anesthesiology Assistant – assists the anesthesiologist
- Emergency Medicine – assists emergency room physicians
Nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings and are often trained to practice in a specialty area. These may include:
- Family practice
- Primary care
- School health
- Women’s health