Difference Between Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

Nursing is an important department in the healthcare industry. Nurses take care of patients twenty-four seven. They monitor and record patients’ health conditions and report them to the doctor.

Nurses also have different categories but have similar responsibilities. Nurse and Nurse practitioner are two different career levels in nursing that have similar responsibilities.

Nurse vs Nurse Practitioner

The main difference between a Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner is that a Nurse works under the doctors or physicians who prescribe medicines and diagnose patients, whereas a Nurse practitioner has the right to prescribe medicines, order tests, and diagnose patients by himself.  A bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to become a nurse, whereas a master’s degree is required to become a nurse practitioner.

Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

A Nurse is a registered nurse who takes care of patients, communicates with patients and family members about the disease and the process of treatment.

Nurses can work in different environments but under the supervision of doctors. They are also responsible for home services and on the school campus. Nurse have different responsibilities as per the environment.

A nurse practitioner also does the same work as a registered nurse along with additional responsibilities. A nurse practitioner can set up his clinic and take care of patients by himself.

Nurse practitioners also work in other hospitals and can become faculty in universities to educate nursing students. They can work on their timings.

Comparison Table Between Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

Parameters of ComparisonNurse Nurse Practitioner  
DefinitionNurses work under the supervision of nurse practitioners or physicians in the health care system.Nurse practitioners work independently or coordinate with other doctors to provide health services to patients.
EducationNurses should possess an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursingNurse practitioners must have master’s degrees in nursing plus years of experience.
TimingsNurses work in rotational shifts within the hospital.Nurse practitioners set their timings as they run their clinic.
MedicationNurses cannot provide medication to patients.NP can provide medication to patients.
Practice settingsThey practice nursing in hospitals, schools, surgical and research hospitals.They practice nursing in private hospitals, universities, college campuses, and personal clinics.

What is Nurse?

A nurse is a caretaker in health care hospitals. Nurse has many responsibilities and roles within the hospital and works in a stressful environment.

A nurse is a registered nurse who works under the supervision of physicians. A nurse can also direct other junior nurses and guide them to work.

Some of the responsibilities of nurses are monitoring a patient’s condition, measuring temperature, blood pressure, sugar, taking blood samples and conducting tests, creating health plans for patients, communicating with family members, and giving first aid to the wounds.

Nursing career has more demand in the world due to the shortage of nurses. They are paid the highest salaries in foreign depending on their responsibilities. Nurses work in rotational shifts the entire day.

To become a registered nurse, one has to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. They should clear National Council Licensure Examination to obtain a license to work in hospitals, schools, camps, organizations, military, and other workplaces.

Nurses can also provide home care services and attend clinical camps. Nurses have many roles. They can assist in medical research,  manage hospital operations, check the quality of the hospital facility, forensic lab work, military nurses, and others.

Nurses can become nurse practitioners by getting higher education certification and experience.

What is Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are the other group of nurses who have more responsibilities than general or clinical nurses. Nurse practitioners are the nurses who have licenses to run their clinics and monitor patients.

Some of the responsibilities of nurse practitioners are monitoring the health condition of patients, prescribing medicines, medical tests, operating medical equipment, diagnosing patients, and conducting treatments.

Nurse practitioners are self-employed nurses. They do not require any supervision from physicians. Instead, they are physicians. Nurse practitioners hold a master’s degree in nursing and obtain a license by attending National Council Licensure Examination.

Nurse practitioner gains experience as a registered nurse and then obtain a higher degree to increase salaries. Nurse practitioners also work in different environments such as in other hospitals, research departments, military, educational institutes, and others.

Nurse practitioners work on their timings like 9-5, weekends, and holidays depending on the emergency. Nurse practitioners can take quick action on the patient without waiting for higher authority orders.

Nurse practitioners also coordinate with other specialist doctors, recommend doctors, and take complete account of the patient’s health.

Nurse practitioners have to work under the supervision of other specialists in some countries. Nurse practitioners have more responsibilities than registered nurses, and they can run a training institute to train other nurses independently.

Main Differences Between Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

  1. A nurse is a clinical nurse, who works within the hospital under the supervision of a physician, while a Nurse practitioner is a physician who works in the hospital.
  2. The nurse is not allowed to run a private clinic, but a nurse practitioner is allowed.
  3. The nurse works in rotational shifts, while the nurse practitioner sets his schedule of working.
  4. The nurse cannot prescribe medicines, but nurse practitioners can prescribe medicines and order tests.
  5. The nurse requires a bachelor’s degree, and nurse practitioners require a master’s degree with minimum experience to get a license.
Difference Between Nurse and Nurse Practitioner


Both nurse and nurse practitioners are registered nurses with similar responsibilities, but their working environment is different. Nurse practitioners take complete account of patient health, but general nurses only do the work ordered by a physician.

However, Nursing is a challenging job.

The nurse takes care of patients and communicates with patients and family members to clear their queries. Nurses have various roles and responsibilities.

They not only take care of patients but also innovate ideas using medical technologies to perform better treatments. Nursing roles are evolving with the evolution of technology. They have more demand in the health care sector.


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315786095_Nurses’_Perceptions_of_Nursing_as_a_Profession_and_Its_Impact_on_Their_Intention_to_Leave_Their_Career
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/42540953_Clients’_Understanding_of_the_Role_of_Nurse_Practitioners
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