Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Hiring Into Advanced Practice Positions: The Nurse Practitioner Versus Physician Assistants Debate

Reid Ponte, Patricia DNSc, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC; O’Neill, Kathleen BSN, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: June 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 6 - p 329–335
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182942c73

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) have long been part of the care model at our institution. Over the years, however, we have demonstrated a preference for NPs based on the belief that they can better meet our patients’ needs. A recent evaluation of our care model led us to question these preferential hiring practices. After carefully examining NP and PA education and licensure requirements, scope of practice, and roles at our institution, we concluded that similarities between the roles far outweighed the differences and that our preferential hiring practices should be replaced by an individualized approach, in which advanced practice positions are filled by whichever candidate best meets the role requirements. This inclusive and analytic approach may be a useful model for other nurse leaders considering the NP/PA question.

Author Affiliations: Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Executive Director, Oncology Nursing and Clinical Services, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Dr Reid Ponte); Student, Master of Science, BSN to MS Program (Ms O’Neill), Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences Boston, Massachusetts.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Reid Ponte, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Dana 1632, Boston, MA 02215 (

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.