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An Advanced Registered Nursing Practitioner (abbreviated as ARNP) is a registered nurse who has undergone and excelled in an advanced training in the professional field of nursing. The profession of nursing was initiated to promote the children’s healthcare provision and has since been offered by several universities and medical colleges to cover from the infants to the aged. The Physician Assistants (abbreviated as PA) are healthcare providers who continuously work under the directions of a licensed physician. According to Hooker, Cawley & Asprey (2009), ARNPs and PAs are widely perceived to be performing similar duties in their respective capacities. However, there are a number of professional differences and restrictions between the two categories of healthcare providers.

1.0 Educational Requirements

ARNPs and PAs have got different academic backgrounds and certifications some of which are determined by the state regulations concerning relevant medical profession. It is most notable that PA demands more advanced educational requirements than ARNP. First of all, PAs must be holders of first degree in medical or surgical support prior to their excellence in Physician Assistant National Certifying Examinations (PANCE). PANCE is offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and its certification normally requires between 2-3 years. On the other hand, ARNPs are ideally first degree holders in nursing (BSN) and a nursing license before they register for masters degree. Therefore ARNPs are only entitled to practice as Nursing Practitioners after national certification such as American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

2.0 Professional Roles

Even though PAs assumes merely all the physician’s role, they are always subordinates who rely exclusively on the physicians directions to perform their duties. In sharp contrast, ARNPs enjoy their full independence as hands free practitioners.  Secondly, ARNPs are eligible to hold a clinical office but not the PAs. This is attributed to the fact that PAs do not have practicing licenses of their own hence they operate under the cover of the doctors’ licenses. Unlike the PAs, ARNPs address medical issues only since they have no specialization while PAs may train in various specific fields such as surgery and become licensed practicing Surgical Physician Assistant. Generally, PAs attend to various medical conditions depending on the supervising doctors and state regulations. They take patients’ medical history; help in x-rays or in laboratories, conduct home visits and give responses back to the doctor. Although these roles seem closer to those of ARNPs, PAs roles span many healthcare concerns.

3.0 Salary

Following the high academic requisite and the entry level into the medical profession, PAs relatively receive more payment and other benefits compared to the ARNPs.  Experience, location (state), institution, and whether one is self-employed equally influence the amount of salary a medical practitioner receives. According to the Physician Assistant Education Association, with experience below one year, a PA gets $ 69,381 per annum  while ARNP receives an average of $66,328 per annum where as a self-employed PA that has been in the field can get an estimate of $87,279 per annum.. High remuneration is often obtained from foundations and their relevant organizations which go up to $ 85,500 per annum. PAs have the advantage of extra training which would bear a strong alteration on the pay they receive.

4.0 Future Development

In the dawn of various reforms in the different specialties of the Medical profession coupled with an increasing need for primary healthcare, larger numbers of PAs and their counterpart ARNPs will be needed to help ease the workload facing the doctors and other medical practitioners within the healthcare sector. Similarly, this calls for professional/career advancements among the healthcare practitioners (PAs and ARNPs), better pay and higher degree of autonomy in their healthcare practice.

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