Nurse Practitioner vs RN

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nurse practitioner vs rn
Nurse Practitioner vs RN. If you are considering a nursing career, you may wonder what is the difference between a registered nurse (RN) and a nursing practitioner (NP). Although they have much in common because both provide care to the patient, there are differences in job description and nursing education requirements.

Nursing Job Description

Registered nurses are general health workers specializing in treating and educating patients while assisting medical doctors. They assess the patient's health problems and needs, develop and implement a nursing care plan, and maintain medical records. In addition, they may advise patients on health care and disease prevention or provide case management.

Job description of Registered Nurse:

  • Monitor, record, and report symptoms or changes in the patient's condition.
  • Maintain accurate and detailed reports and records.
  • Record patient medical information and vital signs.
  • Ordering, interpreting, and evaluating diagnostic tests to identify and assess the patient's condition.
  • Modify the treatment plan as indicated by the patient's response and condition.
  • Directing or supervising less skilled personnel or specific units.
  • Consult and coordinate with members of the healthcare team to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
  • Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
  • Instructing individuals, families, or others on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and the development of health improvement programs.
  • Prepare the patient for and assist with the examination or treatment.

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who can prescribe drugs, unlike registered nurses. They diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic diseases and may focus on health promotion and disease prevention. They often perform duties outside the area of ​​registered nurses and may specialize in certain areas of care. In 25 states, nurse practitioners have the authority to practice independently.

Nurse Practitioner Job Description:

  • Prescription drug dosage, route, and frequency.
  • Order, perform, or interpret the results of diagnostic tests such as full blood count, electrocardiogram, and x-rays.
  • Analyze and interpret patient history, symptoms, physical findings, or diagnostic information to develop a proper diagnosis.
  • Develop a treatment plan based on scientific reasons, standard of care, and professional practice guidelines.
  • Diagnose or treat acute health care problems such as illness, infections, and injuries.
  • Prescribe medications based on properties, safety, and costs that are legally authorized.
  • Patient counseling about drug regimens and possible side effects or interactions with other substances such as over-the-counter and herbal remedies.
  • Recommend interventions to modify behaviors related to health risks.
  • Detect and respond to adverse drug reactions, with special attention to vulnerable populations.
  • Educate patients about the management of an acute or chronic disease.

Where do they work?

More than half of registered nurses are employed in public hospitals and general surgery. Others work in doctors' offices, home health care services, and nursing care facilities. The remaining work is mainly in government agencies, administrative and support services, educational services, correctional facilities, schools, summer camps, and the military.

In addition to work in clinics, office practices, managed care organizations, and hospitals, nursing practitioners provide care in rural areas, community health centers, campuses and other locations. Nurse Practitioner also works for health technology companies, conducts health care research, teaches at schools and universities, and serves in government agencies. About 15% of all Nurse Practitioners have their own practices.


Highly enrolled nurses have two educational pathways to choose from: an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Becoming a nursing practitioner requires a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or higher. Students must have a bachelor's degree before applying to a master of science program. Many MSN programs encourage applicants to work as registered nurses at least one year before enrolling.
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Certification for Nurse Practitioners - Getting national certification is required by many states and employers for nursing practitioners and other advanced nursing practitioners. Credentialing is available at ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) and the AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners). Candidates are required to pass a certification exam in a specialized field to get certified. Typically, this area of specialization is equivalent to graduate degree programs who have completed their education.