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June 2004, Volume 34 Number 6 , p 14 - 14



© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(6)             June 2004             p 14 What's in a name? [ADVICE, P.R.N.: NPs AND PAs]

Last week I joined a family practice that includes nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). How do their responsibilities and scope of practice differ? —H.M., WIS.

A PA is a health care professional licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. To become a PA, she completed an intensive medical program accredited by a review commission for PAs. The program, 26 months long on average, consists of classroom, lab, and clinical instruction in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. The typical applicant for a PA program has a bachelor's degree and 4 years of health care experience.

In contrast, an NP is a primary care provider who can practice independently or in collaboration with other health care ...

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