What is the major difference in approach between a Physician Assistant (PA) and a nurse Practitioner (NP)?

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018 by Marie

Physician Assistants in the United States typically do not “follow orders given by physician” or perform other such functions of a Medical Assistant as one person erroneously suggested.

 

Physician Assistants (PAs) are masters or doctorally-prepared clinicians who practice medicine. They approach problems using the medical model, like physicians, which is how they are trained. The medical model studies diseases and prescribes treatments that are evidence-based. PAs can examine, order and interpret labs/imaging, diagnose, prescribe most every drug in most states, and currently function, at minimum, under the indirect supervision/collaboration of a physician, which generally means they must be available by telecommunication if their expertise is needed.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are also masters or doctorally-prepared clinicians who practice medicine under the guise of practicing advanced practice nursing. They approach problems using the nursing model, which is how they are trained. The nursing model focuses on health promotion, but they typically utilize the medical model’s treatments for all ailments. NPs can examine, order and interpret labs/imaging, diagnose, prescribe most every drug in most states, and can function independently in approximately half the states in the US, or otherwise they also currently function, at minimum, under the indirect supervision/collaboration of a physician, which generally means they must be available by telecommunication if their expertise is needed.


Credit: Anthony Loren

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