The Difference Between Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner – For aspiring healthcare professionals who are ready to move beyond the usual nursing roles, but who don’t want to become physicians, the positions of physician assistant and nurse practitioner can be ideal alternatives.
Both of these jobs enable greater supervision and autonomy than traditional nursing does, whilst avoiding some of the more stressful pressures experienced by full-time physicians. However, what is the different nurse practitioner or physician assistant salary differences? Let’s take a look at this.
Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Salary
The typical nurse practitioner salary is typically lower than the physician assistant salary. This is because nurse practitioners, unlike physicians, generally have no specialized training or licensing in the field of medicine. Nurse practitioners supervise the duties performed by physicians, providing necessary guidance but not administering any medical procedures.
This lower fee of a nurse practitioner salary has been cited as one of the main reasons that many folks choose to pursue a career in the clinical environment, even though they’re not formally trained to perform the same tasks that physicians would be required to perform.
The position of nurse practitioners is an advancement within the healthcare profession. Just like physicians, nurse practitioners need to have specialized training from an accredited educational program and then pass the NCLEX-PN (practitioner level) exam. Like physicians, they will need to be board certified and depending on where they live, be required to sit for a state exam.
Once they are board-certified, they can legally practice as a nurse practitioner in almost all the same healthcare settings as physicians. However, there are differences between nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
One of the key differences between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant is that a nurse practitioner is permitted to order laboratory tests, prescribe medication, and even refer patients to physicians for care. They are also allowed to give out orders to their patients and have the authority to refer patients to various doctors and specialists in the case of emergencies.
Although nurse practitioners do not have the authority to perform surgeries, they are allowed to see patients who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered “life-threatening” under certain circumstances.
This authority given to them is what sets nurse practitioners apart from physician assistants. Although physicians’ assistants are not allowed to give patients life-saving treatments under any circumstances, a nurse practitioner can prescribe medication for these particular patients if the doctor determines it is necessary to do so under the circumstances.
A physician assistant is only permitted to prescribe medications if the patient either does not need medical treatment or is suffering from a condition that is expected to require medical treatment in the near future.
Another important difference between a nurse practitioner versus a physician assistant is that most nurse practitioners require hours of training instead of years of residency in the field. Many nurse practitioner programs can take as little as three weeks, whereas physician assistants must complete a year of residency before becoming certified.
Once a nurse practitioner becomes a registered nurse, they are then permitted to practice independently. Unlike physician assistants, nurse practitioners are not required to have any prior clinical experience in any specific area. They can work in any hospital or other healthcare facility as long as they are employed by the same management team.
In addition to the different training requirements, there is also a different pay scale between a nurse practitioner versus a physician assistant. Physician assistants earn a set salary every month, but nurse practitioners only receive a fixed rate for how much they are paid for each appointment. This rate is usually based on the number of patients that the nurse practitioner sees during a month.
A nurse may bill up to 30 patients per hour, which is significantly higher than the rate of physician assistants. This discrepancy between the payment rates is often referred to as the “net price” between the two professions. While nurse practitioners typically have better hours and have fewer administrative duties than physician assistants, the difference between the two nursing professions is often cited as a reason why more people are choosing the latter career.
If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, then there are many different programs that you can use to achieve your educational goals. Many nurses begin their training by participating in an accredited nurse practitioner program through a hospital or other healthcare facility.
These programs allow students to receive expert instruction and also to make contact with a variety of healthcare professionals in order to learn about the most popular healthcare specialities.
After completing a nurse practitioner program at a medical facility, students will be able to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing examination, which is required for all nurse practitioners in order to legally practice medicine in the United States. At this point, a nurse practitioner is considered to be a full-fledged doctor and is allowed to perform most of the same medical duties that a physician assistant is able to.
Although nurse practitioners do have more education and may earn more salaries than physician assistants, many professional associations recommend that both physician assistants and nurse practitioners should be employed together in order to best provide for patients.
As many studies have shown, the majority of medical errors happen during the first stage of care, so by combining these two career fields, healthcare providers are better able to provide the optimal level of healthcare to patients. If you are interested in exploring a new career in healthcare, then taking classes towards a nurse practitioner position could be the best way for you to get started.