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What’s the Difference Between a Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant?

Although both professionals hold a high standard within the healthcare system, these advanced roles do have several differences in the field. Before we get into that, we should note that there are few similarities.

Both are advanced practice healthcare providers that assess, diagnose, and treat patients and can write orders, medications, tests, imaging, etc. The schooling for both graduate programs can run around the same length but serve opposing outcomes when

What Lead Roles Do They Have in a Healthcare Setting?

In 22 states, including Washington D.C., Nurse Practitioners can practice medicine without needing Physician oversight. However, a Physician Assistant will always need Physician oversight at the present time. In the coming years, there may be changes to these standards in the healthcare system that will rectify those requirements and allow independent practice.

What are the Education Requirements?

Both professions require a master’s degree to be advanced practice professions; however, they run in different lengths and specific tracks to earn the degree.

For instance, a Nurse Practitioner will get their Master’s degree in a specific patient population and setting such as adults, children, inpatient, etc. and specializing in women’s health family, pediatric, acute care, and more. Generally, these programs require anywhere from 500 to 1,500 clinical hours to be completed. Because the students in this program will already have their nursing license, they are bringing another level of expertise to their mandatory clinical hours.

Physician Assistants have a more generalized school experience, much like medical school. They will spend their time rotating through clinical in various subdivisions to be well-rounded.

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