I have been a nurse for 18 years. Do you think it is better for me to go for an NP or become a PA?
Dear Donna replies:
Dear PA vs.NP,
Before I address the PA vs. NP route, I would want to know why you are considering either. Some nurses believe if they go back to school for a masters degree, they must get into advanced practice. Advanced practice nursing requires a commitment of time and money and taking your practice to a different level. Once you get there, you also must take steps to maintain it.
There are many other ways to advance your career in nursing without getting into advanced practice. I wonder if you have considered getting a masters degree in another major such as nursing education,
communication or healthcare informational technology. Many nurses are doing this and going on to work in various nontraditional settings/roles.
If your choice still comes down to PA vs. NP, I would strongly urge you to go the NP route. You already have a great body of experience to expand and build upon. Becoming a PA would require you change professions entirely, and Im not sure why you would want to do so. Plus, NPs have more autonomy and options in their practice than PAs. Be sure to do some informational interviewing with nurse practitioners before pursuing this route. You can find out how to get the most from such interviews by reading my article, The scoop on informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing).