University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository




Dr. Elyse Watkins



Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review the differences in the education and training of Physician Assistants (PA) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) and highlight why Physician Assistants should be chosen for hire.

Method: A Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, and Google Scholar search was performed which yielded 8 pertinent articles. Websites such as the Department of Labor and Statistics, Rutgers University, Duke University, Iowa University, Maryville University, Regis College, National Governors Association.org(NGA), The Department of Consumer Affairs, American Academy of Physician Assistant(AAPA), Physician Assistant Education Association(PAEA), National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants(NCCPA), Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant(ARC-PA), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing(ACEN) and American Association of Nurse Practitioners(AANP) websites were all used.

Keywords: Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Education, Training, Differences

Results: The data when comparing the Physician Assistant/MS graduate program to a Family Nurse Practitioner/MS graduate program, suggests a greater comprehensive graduate education and training in medicine for the Physician Assistant student when compared to that of the Nurse Practitioner student.

Conclusion: PAs and NPs are very different practitioners. These differences range from, educational and training models, clinical and credit hours, subspecialty internships/preparation, certifying board exams, accreditation agencies and continuing medical education and recertification requirements. Both professions offer numerous programs, the most common and comparable were chosen for the purpose of this paper. The PA programs mirrors the medical model used by allopathic and osteopathic physicians. This becomes challenging when comparing the professions since PAs practice medicine and NPs practice advanced nursing. We expect to see a greater comprehensive education and training foundation of the PA over the NP. With very little in the literature, more studies are certainly warranted to compare many of the other post-graduate optional programs for PAs and NPs as the professions evolve


Available when accessing via a campus IP address or logged in with a University of Lynchburg email address.

Off-campus users can also use 'Off-campus Download' button above for access.