Breaking Down the Differences Between Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners

As the world of healthcare continues to evolve, nurses around the world are happily enjoying a lucrative and stable career. Over the next several decades trained nurses will become increasingly in demand, which means those that choose this field will have many options before them.

Nursing is more than just a profession, it is a vocation to commit to the overall care of a person’s health and well being. Unlike doctors who merely look to addressing the disease itself, nurses go beyond this task by ensuring that the patients stay healthy, comfortable, and well cared for during their entire hospital stay.

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As the demand for and role of nurses continue to expand, we now see a wide array of specialties running from Registered Nurses to Nursing Practitioners and many of us are confused on how one differs from the other. We at will help break each down.

1. Registered Nurses (RN)


RNs are medical professionals who have completed either a 2 or 4 year degree course in nursing. In order to qualify as registered nurses, they have to pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse exam) to earn their certification. This licensure exam is also meant to test and evaluate their level of skills, knowledge, and competence.

Job Description:

Registered nurses are employed in hospitals, health institutions, and medical offices to organize and systematize patient care. In general, their scope of work includes evaluating the patient’s medical history, performing diagnostic exams, analyzing symptoms and results, operating certain equipment, administering medication, and helping both the patients and their families effectively understand and manage the disease or injury.


A registered nurse is paid anywhere from $50,000 – $70,000 annually.


2. Nurse Practitioners (NP)


Nursing Practitioners (NP) are actually Registered Nurses (RN) who have furthered their education and training which gives them right to diagnose and administer treatments for specific health concerns.

After qualifying as an RN, you can advance your career by undertaking 2 more years of NP training along with a degree level qualification and medical internship in various medical fields. After acquiring the necessary certifications, NPs are able to broaden their role to include diagnostics and treatment administration.

Job Description:

NPs are generally delegated the role of diagnosing the patient as well as evaluating and carrying out diagnostic tests and physical examinations. With this advance training, nurse practitioners are likewise allowed to carry out certain medical procedures depending on his specific specialties.


Nurse Practitioners are raking in an average salary that is estimated at $80,000 – $90,000 per year.

For those considering a nursing education, it is important that you take the time to understand the different specialties available to you during your career in healthcare. The RN and NP are just 2 of several options that you can pick from in this industry. The most important thing is to find an area you are passionate about. There are several online programs that allow you to balance your training with work and family life, so those who are ready to become nurses have the flexibility to start a new career path today.

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