The pathway to becoming a licensed physician in the United States requires nine to eleven years of formal education, and all physicians are required to pass a series of three high stakes standardized examinations called the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) before they can be licensed as to practice medicine. Most physicians also go on to become board-certified in their specialty field, which requires an additional examination following their residency or fellowship training. Compared to physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants have a far shorter course of training, and both are required to pass one standardized examination to be licensed to practice.
In 2008, the National Board of Medical Examiners offered down a simpler version of the USMLE Step 3, an examination all physicians take to receive a medical license. The pass rates for DNP candidates ranged from 33%-70%, and the experiment was discontinued in 2014 due to “low utilization.”
Roy Stoller DO, an otolaryngologist and board examiner, joins Rebekah Bernard MD and Niran Al-Agba MD in a discussion of the differences between the exams that medical doctors and nurse practitioners and physicians assistants take.
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