Nurse Practioneers and Physician Assistants

A nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA) are great occupations. Both provide career alternatives to advanced healthcare roles, but not as physicians. An NP attends a nursing school. A PA attends a medical school or center of medicine.

Nurses follow a patient-centered model, in which they focus on disease prevention and health education. NPs also handle assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Physician assistants follow a disease-centered model, in which they focus on the biological and pathological components of health while also practicing assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

The percentage of these clinicians working in nursing home settings increased during the pandemic. Based on these claims, the number of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants working in nursing facilities increased from 26% in 2008 to 45% in 2017. Nurse practitioners topped the list, more than doubling their ranks to 4,479.

Operators use NPs and PAs to reduce care disruption and increase timely response to staff members’ medical questions. Residents who received care from both a physician and a nurse practitioner or physician assistant increased from 34% in 2008 to 63% in 2018.

Residents in larger, urban, for-profit, and minority-serving nursing homes were more likely to have full-time providers.

Prior studies have shown that residents who receive care from full-time clinical staff have fewer avoidable hospitalizations and lower Medicare spending. Full-time providers should recognize, evaluate, and intervene after a change in condition.

Full findings were published in JAMDA.