Comparing Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Practice in U.S. Emergency Departments, 2010–2017
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2021.5.51988
Introduction: We sought to compare physician assistant (PA) and nurse practitioner (NP) practice in United States emergency departments (ED) based on ED visits as reported by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS).
Methods: We performed a retrospective, secondary analysis of the 2010 to 2017 NHAMCS with analysis of ED visits, patient demographics, and hospital characteristics.
Results: Between 2010 to 2017, 21.0% (95% confidence interval, [CI] +/-3.1%) of ED visits were seen by either a PA/NP (with and without physician involvement) and 8.6% (+/-2.9%) were seen by PA/NP alone. We identified an increase for NP visits between 2014–2016 and found that PA/NP visits share many of the same characteristics.
Conclusion: While emergency medicine has predominately been a specialty for PAs, the number of ED visits with NPs has been increasing over the past several years. While there are some differences, PAs/NPs share many similar practice characteristics in the ED.