what is the difference between a PA and an NP?

PAs and NPs are now being used to supplement primary care doctors and provide both acute and chronic medical care. Doctors go thru training that is different, including four years of college, including pre-med science classes, four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency. Internal medicine doctors like me are trained to be experts at adult and geriatric care across the spectrum, from hospital acute care and patient management, to outpatient preventive, acute, and chronic care. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have completed nursing school in college or otherwise with a Bachelor\’s degree in Nursing, then they do a two year master\’s program to become Nurse Practitioners. During their training, they get both lecture and hands on clinic, yet little hospital experience. They often shadow other more experienced teachers as part of their training. Then, they are free to see patients once they pass their board exams and diagnose/ prescribe. NPs have a nursing model kind of training, which is more based on psychosocial support and counseling, whereas PAs have a medical model training focus, which is more focused on diagnosis, traetment, and functioning as a clinician. Neither model is better or worse, just a different focus, and very competent NPs and PAs practice in similar settings as physicians and/or under the supervision of physicians. PAs often help with specialists do surgeries or procedures. PAs are trained with four years of college with premed classes, then three years of physican assistant school , which is a master\’s degree, before getiing licensure to be able to prescribe for patients uner a physician\’s supervision. While doctors have much more training and experience than NPs or PAs, both can serve to diagnose and treat, as well as counsel, for common medical problems.

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