Difference between a Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant

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A nurse practitioner and a physician assistant are not the same.

Many people do not know the difference between a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner. Generally speaking, nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RN) with a university degree and clinical training. On the other hand, a physician assistant is an expert in the medical profession with a level of advanced education and is trained in the same way physicians are trained. Though the nurse practitioner and physician assistant may provide the same services, these two types of health care professionals vary in their level of education, scope, and focus of care.

Physician Assistants.[edit]

There is a variation in the services a physician assistant provides from state to state because physician assistants are licensed at state level. Although physician assistants can work independently, their service is centered on diagnosing, evaluating, and treating diseases. They may also be responsible for:

  • Diagnosis of diseases (acute and chronic).
  • Arrangements, performance, and interpretation of diagnostic tests .
  • Diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases.
  • Prescription of medicines to treat diseases.
  • Physician assistant usually provide all other services within the scope of their legal duties in training.

Nurse Practitioner.[edit]

Nurse practitioners are medical practitioners that provide special care to distinct groups of people. They also focus on providing health promotion and preventive care for their patients. It was reported that many people visit these providers regularly, and the American Association of Nursing Practitioners has more than 1 billion visitors each year.

Nurse practitioners can work in many professions, including home care, pediatrics, women's health, and mental health, to name a few. As you can see, these specializations focus on specific patient groups rather than specific drugs. Nurses may be responsible for the following tasks, including:

  • Diagnosis of diseases (acute and chronic).
  • Arrangements, performance, and interpretation of diagnostic tests.
  • Diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases
  • Prescribing medication
  • Educating patients to improve their health by choosing healthy habits
  • Counselling and sensitizing people on diverse health needs
Physician Assistants Nurse Practitioners
Works in... Can work independently Most likely to work in health education; sensitization and counseling on certain health needs.
Tasks Diagnosis of disease, prescription of medicines for the treatment of diseases. They can also diagnose diseases too and usually are able to prescribe medicines to treat diseases, although focuses in education.

Venn diagram: Nurse practitioner and Physician assistant[edit]

Venn diagram; nurse practitioner vs physician assistant.jpg