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One of the most common questions asked by people who are interested in joining the healthcare field is, “What is the difference between nurses and physicians/doctors?” The answer to this question comes in many different parts, as there truly is a wide variety of factors that set the two professions apart. And if you are thinking about taking the plunge into the medical field, this is certainly a question that you should learn the answer to as soon as possible, so that you can make an educated decision about what career you should pursue, taking into consideration a number of important factors such as your ability to devote time to your studies, your budget and what kind of salary you would like to earn. In any case, you might not be too excited about having to do the research that is typically necessary to find out. Fortunately, you do not have to, because below, you will find a comprehensive comparison of these two occupations, which will show you all of the key differences between the career paths you are considering. Then, once you are done going through the list, you will finally be able to make an educated decision about your future.

  • Doctors have more years of schooling: Whereas nurses are allowed to obtain just an associate’s degree, doctors require extensive education in order to become prepared for their practice. In any case, it is important to note that certain nursing specialties do require additional school training, such as the nurse practitioner role, which requires at least a master’s degree.
  • Nurses work set shifts: Whereas doctors are often called in during emergencies in addition to their hospital hours, nurses typically work set shifts of eight, ten or twelve hours.
  • Nurses spend more time with patients: Although nurses may not work the same hours as doctors, the time that nurses spend in the hospital is much more focused on being with/caring for patients. When a patient needs to be given medication or is simply scared of an upcoming procedure, it is the nurse who comes to see him or her.
  • Nurses provide most of the physical care: Nurses, not doctors, are the professionals that bathe the patients, provide enemas, administer medication and more. Meanwhile, the physical contact between doctors and patients is typically limited to quick assessments for diagnosis purposes.
  • Doctors prescribe the medication: Although there are exceptions, namely nurse practitioners, nurses are not allowed to prescribe medication to a patient. This is something that the nurse must wait for the doctor to do.
  • Nurses generally have a wider variety of workplaces to choose from: While doctors are often limited to public hospitals, nursing homes and private practice areas, nurses can work in all of these same locations, as well as schools and various government agencies.
  • Nurses make more decisions on a daily basis: Doctors have more power than nurses when it comes to prescribing medication, but they do not make nearly as many decisions on a given day at the hospital. For example, nurses are the ones that have to decide whether or not to administer medication ? depending on if they see it is needed ? and they are also the ones to decide whether or not a visitor should be dismissed due to disruptive behavior.
Licenses.org is a privately owned website that is not affiliated with any government agencies.