Difference between Physician Assistant and Nurse


Physician Assistant and nurses are the professionals working in the same field i.e medicine. Even though they are in same field their job profiles and responsibilities differs a lot. A Physician Assistant is the one who is trained to analyze and treat the diseases of patients under the direction of a physician. Nurses usually practice in nursing and healthcare centers and they are of different types like registered nurses, nurse practitioners, etc.

Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants are those people who are licensed to practice as health care professionals. The possibility of their practice is decided by his/her training in particular area, experience and according to the state laws. They had to work under the control of a physician and usually deliver 75% of their services as compared to a physician can. The supervision of physician does not mean that they should be physically present at all stages of a patient’s care. It is possible for the physician assistants to serve as the main health care provider in the absence of a physician in clinics. And this type of practice is most seen in rural and inner areas of the cities where there are a few physicians compared to the patient strength. Generally they do not provide clerical duties as a nurse provide in certain situations.

Physician Assistants are the part of the entire healthcare group in a healthcare center. Their duties may include examining the patients, write the medical history, provide required treatments to them, order and detect the laboratory tests, x-rays and diagnose illness. To become a physician assistant, one should complete the physician assistant programmes and also qualify a national examination. They need not have to undergo the internships or residential programmes.


Nurses are also the health care professionals who are responsible for treatment, caring, safety and recovery of the ill people. They have work in association with other members in the healthcare team. Nurses are of different types such as registered nurses, Licensed vocational nurses, nurse practitioners, etc. They typically work in nursing or healthcare sections providing the primary care or they may focus in specialized areas.

They perform a wide variety of services in both clinical and non-clinical sections which are obligatory for them to deliver the health care to patients. They may also involve in the medical and research in nursing fields. Nurses are the in-charge of many medical tasks and these were carried out by them under the supervision and approval of a physician or doctor. To become a nurse, one needs to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing from any reputed university. They can also pursue an associate degree in nursing or diploma in related field from recognized boards. After the graduation they can specialize in diverse fields.

Key differentiators between Physician Assistant and Nurse

  • Physician assistant are those who practice in the healthcare centers in the absence of physicians but their works are carried out under the control of a physician whereas the nurse are the professionals who provide primary care to the patients under the control of a physician or a doctor.
  • Physician assistant require additional training apart from the educational qualifications whereas nurses must have a qualification in nursing in addition to the graduation degree.

Although a physician assistant and nurse work in same environment their job description and responsibilities differs a lot. Also the range of salary for both of them is at poles apart.



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2 Responses to “Difference between Physician Assistant and Nurse”

  1. 2

    What is the salary scale of bsc physician assitant in kerela

  2. 1

    What would be the initial salary of a PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT(who has done B.Sc-Physician assistant) and OPTOMETRIST(who has studied B.Sc-Optometry) in India? Is there any job oppurtunity abroad,for these two professions?