It takes more than yearning to become a nurse practitioner (NP) and a physician assistant (PA). It takes determination and a bunch of all-nighters to master the assigned science courses. It takes perseverance and practice to gain the desired clinical experience. It takes stamina to survive demanding years of intensive coursework and clinical education. It takes both strength and compassion in helping men, women, and children who turn to you each day for solutions and answers. It takes both teamwork and patience to practice with other health care professionals. Being an NP and/or a PA are both rewarding professions. One might ask what the difference is between an NP and PA. Does one profession have more to offer? Do their school curriculum differ? This paper will discuss the difference between an NP and a PA.
A NP is a registered nurse with advanced education and clinical training beyond the usual 2 to 4 years of basic nursing education required for state licensure. NPs have provided excellent health care for more than 45 years. The first NPs were educated at the University of Colorado in 1965 (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 2010). AANP (2010) indicated that “NPs are advanced practice nurses who provide high-quality healthcare services similar to those of a physician. NPs diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems. They have a unique approach and stress both care and cure.” As of 2010, there are about 135,000 practicing NPs. There are close to 8,000 new NPs prepared each year at over 325 colleges and universities (AANP, 2010). Ryan (2007) stated that “throughout the 40-year history of the NP profession, NP’s have consistently provided patient-centered, high quality, compassionate care, using a holistic approach” (p. 40).
On October 6, 1967, Duke University PA program graduated the first PA students who went on to start practicing as PAs (American Academy of Physician Assistants... [continues]
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