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  1. Reid Ponte, Patricia DNSc, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC
  2. O'Neill, Kathleen BSN, RN


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.