Differences between Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant

Purpose: Comment the Discussion (Class 501 Unit 6 Comment  2

Thing to Remember:

  • Answer this discussion with opinions/ideas creatively and clearly. Supports post using several outside, peer-reviewed sources.
  • 1 References, find resources that are 5 years or less
  • No errors with APA format 6 Edition


To Comment


There are a lot of similarities and key differences between the Nurse Practitioner (NP) role and that of Physician Assistant (PA).  Both NPs and PAs are able to diagnose, educate, treat disease, prescribe and typically work in similar settings in the outpatient private practice.  However, PAs always prescribe and practice under the supervision of a physician.  NPs on the other hand work in collaboration with physicians in some states and in others they are able to work completely independently and own their own practice.  The Advanced Practice Nurse has many specialty routes such as CNS, which provides care to patients with complex diseases/conditions, improves patient care by developing clinical skills and retains nurses that are subject matter experts (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy & O’Grady, 2014).  Advanced Practice nurses can also specialize in acute care, nurse-midwife or nurse anesthetist.  Both PAs and NPs need to be certified, and PAs become nationally certified through taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), obtain 2000 clinical hours and they must complete a re certification exam every 10 years (ASPA.org, 2017).  Nurse Practitioners must have a minimum of RN license, MSN or Doctorate degree and become certified through taking tests with either American Nursing Credentialing Center or American Association of Nurse Practitioners.  PAs on the other hand can hold a Bachelors degree, however often times they hold a Master’s degree.


American Academy of Physician Assistants. (2017).  Retrieved from https://www.aapa.org/what-is-a-pa/#tabs-2-how-are-pas-certified-and-licensed

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/all-about-nps/np-brochure

Hamric, A., Hanson, C., Tracy, M., & O’Grady, E. (2014). Advanced Practice Nursing: An Integrative Approcah. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.


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