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Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by drom23, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. drom23

    Jul 21, 2017
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    Hello all,

    First-time post for me here and I would really appreciate some input into my conundrum. All my life I have known I wanted to work in the field of medicine. At first, I wanted to be a doctor but after 4 years of Bio Pre-Med and shadowing/hearing stories from actual doctor's I decided that it was not meant for me. I did some soul searching and I looked into PA programs and thought this is what I wanted to do. That was until I started working as an assistant to a Psychiatrist so I could get face to face time w/ patients. Let me tell you, it blew my mind and I completely fell in love with psychiatry. In her practice, there are NP's, CNS's and one PA. My doctor and I talked and she mentioned to me PMHNP route since I am not interested in any other branch of medicine. Well my question is, in the field of psychiatry is there and advantage to being a PMHNP rather than a PA? I know PA's go through rotations and cover some psychiatry aspects but they don't really go into detail. Would I benefit more from one rather than the other? I ask because my parent's (old school Mexican immigrants) blew their lid when I told them I was looking into PMHNP (just because there's "nurse" in the title) Honestly, I haven't seen/heard of psych PA's, mostly NP's, CNS and PMHNP's. I would really appreciate the input. Thanks.
  2. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
    Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Psych PAs exist, but the NP model seems to be more prevalent in psych. One difference is that the nursing lobby has been very successful in gaining independent practice authority for NPs, and this has created more career opportunities for NPs (though some would argue that patients pay the price for the lower level of training and expertise). PAs by definition do not engage in unsupervised/unmonitored practice (though supervision may be remote/off site). Also, PA training is more in line with physician training. At some schools PA and MD students even take some of the same foundational courses.

    If you can, talk to PAs and NPs in the practice to get a sense of their paths and their roles. Functionally there is a good amount of overlap.

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