Nurse Practitioner Versus Physician Assistant: Scope Of Practice, Role, Training, And Salary

By Tim Fish, DNP, MBA – September 5, 2016

Non-physician, advanced healthcare practitioners are popular career choices and there is a demand for their clinical skills. Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) represent two professions that provide advanced care to patients without the medical doctor credential. From the consumer perspective, it may be difficult to tell the difference between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant. Both professionals provide quality care, can prescribe medications, and interpret labs.  A more detailed review will explain some of the important differences.

Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

In the United States, scopes of practice for nurse practitioners and physician assistants are defined at the state level. This complicates the ability to accurately define general differences. Levels of autonomy and limitations imposed on providing care may differ from state to state. Both professions have professional organizations that advocate for their members and provide a platform to guide defining scopes of practice.



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