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knuck000

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Hey guys, I have a question about physician's assistants. What is the difference between PAs and registered nurses? I'm also curious why people say that PAs can do most things that a physician can do; however PA programs are generally MUCH easier to get into and shorter than med schools. :confused:

Any clarification between MDs, PAs, and RNs would be much appreciated.
 

HumidBeing

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OOOOOh! I couldn't answer that properly without writing a really long post.

PA's may, or may not, be RN's as well.

An MD has been through medical and internship, usually residency, often fellowship.

PA's usually go into that program after having spent time as a hands-on health care giver. Their program is much shorter. They work under the auspices of an MD or DO. A PA is considered a mid-level care provider. The required training is more advanced than that of an RN, but less involved than that of an MD.

You probably already know what an RN is.
 
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87138

Hey guys, I have a question about physician's assistants. What is the difference between PAs and registered nurses? I'm also curious why people say that PAs can do most things that a physician can do; however PA programs are generally MUCH easier to get into and shorter than med schools. :confused:

Any clarification between MDs, PAs, and RNs would be much appreciated.



I have a feeling you meant to ask about the difference between PAs and NPs (Nurse Practitioners). Their scopes of practice are often very congruous. Comparing PAs and RNs (Registered Nurses) would be similar to comparing, say, a college professor and a graduate TA (I apologize, I know that's not the greatest analogy).

That said, I believe NPs generally obtain an RN degree first.

Edit: Also, don't necessarily mistake PA programs for being "easier." In general, sure, the quantitative academic standards (GPA, GRE [and sometimes MCAT]) are a bit more lax than MD programs; however, there is often more that must be accomplished before entering a PA program. For starters, most programs require additional coursework on top of most premed requirements. Classes like biochem, micro, genetics, statistics, etc are usually needed in addition to the usual bio and chem requirements. It will differ greatly from program to program but most PA schools require a minimum of two semesters of chem, and often more. Some require one gchem and one ochem, others require 2 gchem and at least one ochem, and some require 2 of both like MD programs do. Physics is not always required for PA schools. Again, I'm throwing out generalizations here.

Additionally, PA schools often select individuals that have contributed a GREAT deal of time in the healthcare field already. As one school puts it, "most of our applicants measure their clinical experiences/work not in hours, but in years."
 
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Instatewaiter

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Hey guys, I have a question about physician's assistants. What is the difference between PAs and registered nurses? I'm also curious why people say that PAs can do most things that a physician can do; however PA programs are generally MUCH easier to get into and shorter than med schools. :confused:

Any clarification between MDs, PAs, and RNs would be much appreciated.

PAs and NPs are essentially the same. I believe that in the training NPs have a bit more clinically orriented program while PAs have a bit more core-science based. Functionally they are the same.

PAs get a good amt of autonomy and can prescribe medicines that are related to the field they work in. So that is one area where they can do pretty much what a Dr can do.

PA is a good route just because it is much, much shorter than the medical road. Expect in the future that most primary care will be done by PAs and NPs while the Drs are the specialists. Personally I think that's kinda messed up but honestly a monkey could do about 85% of primary care.
 

MedStudentWanna

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Hey guys, I have a question about physician's assistants. What is the difference between PAs and registered nurses? I'm also curious why people say that PAs can do most things that a physician can do; however PA programs are generally MUCH easier to get into and shorter than med schools. :confused:

Any clarification between MDs, PAs, and RNs would be much appreciated.

Well, first, there is no correlation between PAs and RNs. It's PAs and NP (Nurse Practioners) which are the same. Nurse Practioners are people who already have an RN, then go on to graduate studies in clinical medicine. They, like PAs, can diagnose and prescribe medications, see patients independently, write orders on their own, etc. RNs can't do any of that.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that PA programs are easier to get into. There's more than one person here on SDN who applied to both PA and med schools and was only accepted at the med school. PA schools are competitive (and getting more and more competitive as it's a booming field right now) and they look for people who have worked PROFESSIONALLY in health care already. This is the place you'll find former nurses, former EMTs, former CNAs, etc. You won't find many people being accepted just out of college who have only a few hours of clinical experience. Most look for years of PAID experience in clinical settings.
 
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8744

I have a feeling you meant to ask about the difference between PAs and NPs (Nurse Practitioners). Their scopes of practice are often very congruous. Comparing PAs and RNs (Registered Nurses) would be similar to comparing, say, a college professor and a graduate TA (I apologize, I know that's not the greatest analogy).

That said, I believe NPs generally obtain an RN degree first.

Edit: Also, don't necessarily mistake PA programs for being "easier." In general, sure, the quantitative academic standards (GPA, GRE [and sometimes MCAT]) are a bit more lax than MD programs; however, there is often more that must be accomplished before entering a PA program. For starters, most programs require additional coursework on top of most premed requirements. Classes like biochem, micro, genetics, statistics, etc are usually needed in addition to the usual bio and chem requirements. It will differ greatly from program to program but most PA schools require a minimum of two semesters of chem, and often more. Some require one gchem and one ochem, others require 2 gchem and at least one ochem, and some require 2 of both like MD programs do. Physics is not always required for PA schools. Again, I'm throwing out generalizations here.

Additionally, PA schools often select individuals that have contributed a GREAT deal of time in the healthcare field already. As one school puts it, "most of our applicants measure their clinical experiences/work not in hours, but in years."

Hey, I'm a third year resident. Do you think I'm qualified to work as a PA? I mean, I know they're super-selective who they let into PA school but maybe in my case they could bend the rules and allow me to achieve my life-long dream of working as a PA, a dream I gave up to go to medical school because I didn't have what it takes to get into one of those super-hard PA programs.
 
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Hey, I'm a third year resident. Do you think I'm qualified to work as a PA? I mean, I know they're super-selective who they let into PA school but maybe in my case they could bend the rules and allow me to achieve my life-long dream of working as a PA, a dream I gave up to go to medical school because I didn't have what it takes to get into one of those super-hard PA programs.


Hey, thanks for skewing my words. I never said it was crazy tough, just that many people don't understand the difference in admissions practices between the two degree programs. But by all means, continue to play with straw men.
 
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8744

Hey, thanks for skewing my words. I never said it was crazy tough, just that many people don't understand the difference in admissions practices between the two degree programs. But by all means, continue to play with straw men.


Dude, the agit-prop from the mid-levels usually runs along the lines of, "Well, since I was a Paramedic (Nurse, Respiratory Therapist, etc.) for a few years I am actually more qualified to be a doctor and can skip all of the useless stuff that medical doctors have to endure." In fact, being a Paramedic, for example, or even a nurse, is not great training for being a doctor. Paramedics do their thing and I have nothing but respect for them as I do for nurses but you can certainly get in a rut as a paramedic where you primarily ferry elderly but stable patients to and from the hospital with the occasional ACLS or trauma run. Nurses can get in the rut of "patient care" (their job) and perform on autopilot most of their tasks with no fantastic amount of medical knowledge.

My point is that the "difficult" admission requirements and what would have kept me out of PA school if I had even known what a PA was before I applied would have been the lack of health care experience, not some knowledge gap or lessor intelligence on my part. I am not the smartest guy in the world and am just an average doctor if the truth were known but I gotta' tell you, the medical students and residents I have known and worked with are, for the most part, head and shoulders above most mid-levels in intelligence, and, well, let's just call it "intellectualism."

http://pandabearmd.com/blog/category/mid-level-madness/
 
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Oh, and the intensity of your belief that mid-levels can do 85 percent (or some other random percentage) of your job is inversely proportional to how far along you are in your training. When you're a first-year medical student you are apt to be impressed by the confident PA striding around the hospital in his white coat. When you are almost done with residency not so much.

Count on it.
 
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Dude, the agit-prop from the mid-levels usually runs along the lines of, "Well, since I was a Paramedic (Nurse, Respiratory Therapist, etc.) for a few years I am actually more qualified to be a doctor and can skip all of the useless stuff that medical doctors have to endure." In fact, being a Paramedic, for example, or even a nurse, is not great training for being a doctor. Paramedics do their thing and I have nothing but respect for them as I do for nurses but you can certainly get in a rut as a paramedic where you primarily ferry elderly but stable patients to and from the hospital with the occasional ACLS or trauma run. Nurses can get in the rut of "patient care" (their job) and perform on autopilot most of their tasks with no fantastic amount of medical knowledge.

My point is that the "difficult" admission requirements and what would have kept me out of PA school if I had even known what a PA was before I applied would have been the lack of health care experience, not some knowledge gap or lessor intelligence on my part. I am not the smartest guy in the world and am just an average doctor if the truth were known but I gotta' tell you, the medical students and residents I have known and worked with are, for the most part, head and shoulders above most mid-levels in intelligence, and, well, let's just call it "intellectualism."

http://pandabearmd.com/blog/category/mid-level-madness/


I don't disagree with what you've said, and truth be told I have absolutely no agenda here with regards to PAs/NPs. Intellectually, I would certainly surmise that the best and the brightest end up going into medicine rather than becoming a PA. (And sure, some would suggest that the best and the brightest are the ones who steer clear of medicine entirely and do something else).

I simply was stating that it's a "different" kind of difficult, in that most premeds who are beginning the application cycle do not currently have all the "qualifications" to apply to PA school. It's not an issue of them not being good enough, it's just an issue of them not having jumped through a few other annoying hoops.
 
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8744

I don't disagree with what you've said, and truth be told I have absolutely no agenda here with regards to PAs/NPs. Intellectually, I would certainly surmise that the best and the brightest end up going into medicine rather than becoming a PA. (And sure, some would suggest that the best and the brightest are the ones who steer clear of medicine entirely and do something else).

I simply was stating that it's a "different" kind of difficult, in that most premeds who are beginning the application cycle do not currently have all the "qualifications" to apply to PA school. It's not an issue of them not being good enough, it's just an issue of them not having jumped through a few other annoying hoops.

Oh, I'm not busting down on you. I'm just making a general comment. I like PAs and Nurse practitioners. I think they are smart and well-trained but their training is nothing like that of a doctors. As for mid-levels being qualified to do primary care, while there is no doubt that the government and insurance accountants think they are, that's not the same as being actually qualified. There is more to primary care than wiping noses and signing work excuses, after all. Primary care is difficult to do correctly and the only reasons a one-third trained practitioner would even be considered for the job are:

1. It is hard to measure quality and mistakes, when they happen, evolve slowly.

2. The public just wants the illusion of free or cheap, cheap medical care and aren't really concerned with quality as long as they aren't the ones needing medical care which most people don't most of the time.

3. A lot of people don't know the difference between a doctor and a midlevel and will even ask the janitor for pain medication if he is wearing scrubs and a white coat.

4. We live in an egalitarian society and no one is allowed to know more than anyone else.
 
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And this is your Uncle Panda talking, a guy who is not exactly in love with the medical profession and is something of a critic of much of what we do. I am not starry-eyed pre-med stubbornly defending a profession he hasn't even entered yet.
 

Xio21

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hey everyone ,

i'm in my first year of community college i want to become a physician assistant any tips on how to prepare for my long journey a head of me ?
 

JoaoMoutinho

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hey everyone ,

i'm in my first year of community college i want to become a physician assistant any tips on how to prepare for my long journey a head of me
.
 
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