What is a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner?

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physician assistant in green uniform

At California Pacific Orthopaedics, our team comprises of surgeons as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. This team approach is critical to our approach to patient care.

The key difference between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant is their training and background. Both are important members of the health care team.

Most PAs have a master’s degree. They attend programs that focus on the medical aspects of health care, training them to be general practitioners, though PAs can specialize in everything from primary care to pediatrics and general surgical care. Nine to 15 months of the program is spent in supervised clinical training, according to the Physician Assistant Education Association and the AAPA.

NPs also hold advanced degrees, either master’s or doctorate degrees, but usually their focus is on nursing and they often have over 10 years of nursing experience before they go on to become nurse practitioners.

Both NPs and PAs are licensed and accredited by exam.

NPs Improve Patient Outcomes

Studies have shown that when PAs and NPs practice to the full extent of their abilities and training, hospital readmission rates and lengths of stay decrease and infection rates go down.

You can learn more about our physician assistants and nurse practitioners on our Team page.

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