RN/Nurse to PA/Physician Assistant

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10+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2013
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Any nurses make the transition from RN to PA? Why did you choose PA over NP? Do you have regrets? Are you happy with your decision? Would you do it all over again?

I am an ICU nurse that is confused of NP vs MD/DO vs PA.

I want to focus on NP vs PA

I am thoroughly fed up with the nursing model. I feel like I’m wasting my time.

On the other hand, the NP route would entail less cost (because the degree is only 25K, and I can work full time while finishing the degree).

PA school is more expensive (like 40K total). PA school I don’t think would allow me to work full time and I’ll miss out on salary and paid benefits/paid retirement.

However PA education is superior, I feel.

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I was in a similar boat as you are right now. I'll tell you what I know so far about all of it.

It really just depends on your career goals. Do you want to be trained medically, work closely with physicians, and be able to work in practically in medical specialty? Then go PA. On the other hand, if you want to be more independent(dependent on state), possibly go into administration, and take the faster "easier" route then go np.

Are you interested in working in the icu as a provider? If so, I have heard that the speciality np programs, like acute care, provide better education than the fnp programs. Not sure how true this is though.

Overall both PAs and NPs end up in practically the same jobs and eventually they get to the same point of knowledge and experience. It's really whatever your preferences are.

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