Are you seeking career advice about nursing?
If so, you’ve come to the right place. With so many nursing terms floating around, it’s easy to confuse the roles and responsibilities of different types of nurses.
For example, how does a registered nurse (RN) differ from a nurse practitioner (NP)? In this post, we’ll examine four key ways in which their career paths differ.
Read on to learn more about each job description — and determine which one is right for you.
1. Education Requirements
First of all, let’s discuss the type of education each nurse needs to enter the field.
Most RNs hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, although some may get by with a 2-year associate’s degree. As of 2015, there were 2.74 million RNs in the US.
Nurse practitioners, on the other hand, almost always hold a master’s degree or higher. This might explain why there are only 234,000 NPs in the US, versus several million RNs.
The extra education is needed for the additional responsibilities NPs have, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
2. Working Environment
Most RNs work in either a hospital or a surgical clinic. Because patients need care 24 hours a day, RNs tend to work more varied hours and may assume a wider variety of tasks than NPs.
Because of their extra training and expertise, nurse practitioners more often work in private clinics or government agencies. Many also work in educational settings or for nonprofit organizations.
Since hospitals have different requirements than private practices, NPs usually assume a more standard working schedule than RNs.
3. Average Salaries
If you’re a registered nurse, you can expect to earn a median salary of $68,450 per year.
Of course, keep in mind that salaries vary by state, region, and the type of facility you work in.
4. Writing Prescriptions (and Other Duties)
We’ve discussed education requirements and working environments, and we know that both types of nurses deal with patient care. But what does each one actually do on a daily basis?
RNs generally work under the supervision of a doctor. They may perform basic tests and patient care, but ultimately it’s the doctor who makes diagnoses, outlines follow-up care, and prescribes medication.
Since NPs have more education (in some cases, a doctorate degree), they have greater flexibility and control when it comes to patient care. They’re able to see patients on their own without the supervision of a physician.
Nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, unlike registered nurses. They also have the ability to make a diagnosis and treat illnesses directly.
Registered Nurse vs Nurse Practitioner: Final Thoughts
Whichever path you choose, your career in nursing is sure to be a success.
After all, healthcare is one field that definitely isn’t shrinking anytime soon. By 2022, there will be an estimated 1.2 million vacancies for qualified nurses!
So what are you waiting for? If you’re considering a career in nursing, there’s no better time to enter the medical profession.
Any questions or comments about this post? Feel free to contact us anytime.