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Difference Between a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

Nurses have always played a vital role in the health care industry. They spend their lives caring for people who are afflicted with illnesses and injuries. Two types of nurses that are highly respected members of the medical community are Registered Nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP). There are a number of differences between a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A Registered Nurse is a licensed medical professional who has completed a four-year nursing degree from a reputable nursing school. These nurses provide all types of nursing care to their patients and act as health advocates for the patient. As well, they evaluate, plan, and implement nursing care treatment for the sick and injured in conjunction with physicians and other health care providers.

Registered nurses carry out a number of medical tasks such as: explaining and educating patients about their medical conditions, dispensing treatments such as medications and fluids, performing selected medical procedures, monitoring a patient's vital signs, advising and supporting patients, maintaining patient health records, and keeping families advised on a patient's health status and progress.

A registered nurse can work in most areas of the health care field. With advanced training and experience, registered nurses can specialize in a specific medical area such as surgical procedures.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has normally completed either a master's degree or doctoral degree and undergone training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions. The Nurse Practitioner degree program is explicit in its educational goals that include physical assessment and screening, diagnosis, diagnostics, therapeutic treatment, pharmacology and drug interactions, assisting with patient emotional support and counseling, patient intake, referral and discharge procedures, and case management practices.

In the US, Nurse Practitioners are licensed by the state where they practice. They have national board certification which is normally done through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The specialized training and educations allows a nurse practitioner to perform many medical tasks usually performed by a doctor. Such tasks include diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries.

A few states permit nurse practitioners to write prescriptions. The nurse practitioner has advanced comprehension and clinical proficiency in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and patient care practices. Nurse practitioners treat health conditions within their range of practice through the utilization of physical exams, physical therapy, ordering tests, and implementing therapies for patients.

Nurses are the first medical professionals people see when faced with a health problem. They can be found working in the community in such places as health clinics, schools, doctors' offices, home care, family planning clinics, rehabilitation centers, and hospices. In a hospital, nurses can be found working in emergency, intensive care, operating room, maternity, cardiovascular (heart), oncology (cancer), psychiatry, pediatrics, palliative, and geriatrics.

They provide important and essential support to doctors and other healthcare providers, patients, and families. A career as either a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner is satisfying, lucrative, and meaningful.


Whether it'd be family practice jobs or internal medicine jobs, nurses play a vital role in the medical field. As different nursing jobs possess their own differences, they each make a contribution by caring for the community.

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