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Detweiler 1 Paul Detweiler Professor Petrie Foundations of Health Sciences 11 September 2012 Although many jobs in the health

science field offer bright employment outlooks, two careers that show major growth potential in the upcoming years are nurse practitioners and physical therapists. Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice nurses that focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and health education and counseling of patients while physical therapists concentrate on the promotion of optimal health and functioning of the human body through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct, or alleviate movement dysfunction (Stanfield 119, 264 respectively). As America pushes for an increased emphasis on preventive care both nurse practitioners and physical therapists will experience a rise in importance making them vital players in the United States health care system. Both nurse practitioners and physical therapists dedicate themselves to offering patients better quality of life through various methods, each striving to ultimately promote healthy activities for patients in their personal lives. Rigorous academic programs are required for both professions, as nurse practitioners necessitate either a Master of nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (after first completing the education necessary to become a registered nurse) whereas physical therapists require either a Master of Physical Therapy or Doctoral of Physical Therapy degree with each profession needing six to eight years of schooling (, Each career also requires the passing of a national board certification exam after completing the aforementioned education standards. Once qualified to practice their respective styles of medicine, both nurse practitioners and physical therapists must renew their particular licenses

Detweiler 2 every two years. Thirty hours of board-approved continuing education within each renewal cycle is required for nurse practitioners to be eligible for license renewal while only twenty hours are needed for physical therapists (until January 1st 2013 when physical therapists will then also need 30 hours of continuing education). As licensed professionals, both nurse practitioners and physical therapists can expect to make relatively large annual salaries as nurse practitioners range from making $74,812 to $98,760 a year on average and physical therapists average between $60,300 and $85,540 a year (, Stanfield 268). Each career also gives individuals a fair amount of freedom as specialties, work environments, and independence can vary greatly in both professions. Family practice, adult practice, womens health, pediatrics, and geriatrics are common specialties for nurse practitioners with physical therapists often specializing in pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, and cardiopulmonary care. Work environments for both professions include hospitals, clinics, private offices, homes, and schools. Both nurse practitioners and physical therapists also have the choice to either work within healthcare teams or individually. Nurse practitioners often work in collaboration with doctors and other specialists, but because they have extensive qualifications 15% of nurse practitioners have their own private practices ( Similarly, physical therapists often consult and practice with a variety of health care professionals, but can also be self-employed and see individual patients or become contracted to provide services in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. Ultimately the most important similarity between nurse practitioners and physical therapists is that they must possess a desire to help others along with strong interpersonal and communication skills so that they can educate patients about their condition and subsequent treatment plan. Although nurse practitioners and physical therapists share similar employment opportunities, educational paths,

Detweiler 3 work environments, and fundamental goals of helping patients obtain the best quality of life possible, each career has its own more specified focus and responsibilities, which define their respective workforce tasks. The main difference between nurse practitioners and physical therapists is that nurse practitioners deal with a larger spectrum of ailments, injuries, and complications. Physical therapists focus mostly on mobility and functional impairments with patients whereas nurse practitioners must handle not only larger options of conditions but also more basic nursing duties like feeding and cleaning patients, dressing wounds, communicating with patient families, and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests like EKGs or x-rays. Nurse practitioners also have the ability to prescribe medications, administer immunizations, and perform or assist in minor surgeries like biopsies or suturing whereas physical therapists do not ( Overall nurse practitioners concentrate more on a patients present and continuing treatment and care whereas physical therapists focus more on patient pre - or rehabilitation. Nurse practitioners must take on more of a patients health, comfort, and wellbeing compared to physical therapists that must concentrate more on the structure and anatomical ability of a patient. The division in actual workplace responsibilities and prescribing abilities are what differentiates nurse practitioners and physical therapists from each other despite having similarities in other areas. With an increase in elderly, the baby boomer generation continuing to age, and a governmental push for more preventive care career opportunities for nurse practitioners and physical therapists are some of the best in the job market (Stanfield 268). Both professions share similarities in basic work information like education requirements, average salary, and work environment. Each profession also aims to care for those in need and promote healthy lifestyle choices through education or patient counseling. Ultimately the duties of each profession differ

Detweiler 4 largely in that nurse practitioners must see and treat patients as a whole system as opposed to taking a more structural, functional view of them. Overall both careers seem like wise paths for any health profession seeker who is willing to maneuver through several years of schooling and wants to help people achieve a more comfortable, healthy life.

Detweiler 5 Works Cited "About PT/PTA Careers." American Physical Therapy Association, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 8 Sept. 2012. <>. "All About NPs." American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2012. Web. 8 Sept. 2012. <>. Cross, Nanna, and Y.H. Hui. Introduction to the Health Professions. By Peggy S. Stanfield. 6th ed. Ontario: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012. N. pag. Print. "Nurse Practitioner." American Accreditation HealthCare Commission, 2012. Web. 8 Sept. 2012. <>. "Nurse Practitioner." American Dental Education Association, 25 July 2012. Web. 8 Sept. 2012. <>.