Physician Assistant vS. Nurse Practitioner

What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

A Physician Assistant is a health care professional licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PA’s can:

  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Counsel on preventative health care
  • Assist in surgery
  • Write prescriptions, in nearly every state

In general, a physician assistant will see many of the same types of patients as the physician. The cases handled by physicians are generally the more complicated medical cases, or those which require care that is not a routine part of the PA’s scope of work. PA’s are taught to “know their limits” and refer to physicians appropriately. It is an important part of PA training.

What is a Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)?

Family Nurse Practitioners are primary health care providers who focus on health promotion and prevention. Nurse Practitioners service include:

  • Comprehensive history and physical exams
  • Well-child exams
  • Immunizations
  • Family planning
  • Prenatal care
  • Preventative screening
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic health care concerns

ARNP’s manage patient care by ordering lab tests, x-rays, and prescribing medication.

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