If you are considering a medical career you might be wondering what the difference is between a nurse and a nurse practitioner. Put simply, a nurse specializes in the general care of patients while a nurse practitioner focuses on one specific branch of medicine, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
While a nurse only needs an associate’s degree, a nurse practitioner must earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing. To become a registered nurse, you need to study at a community college or four-year university. To become a nurse practitioner, you must attend a university graduate program.
Licensing And Certifications
To work as a nurse, you have to register with your state’s Board of Nursing. You will also have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination. To become a licensed nurse practitioner you need to pass a test administered by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Depending on your state, there will be different continuing education requirements for nurses. A nurse practitioner must renew their certification every five years, and work a certain number of hours in a clinical setting in order to keep their license current.
The job duties that nurses perform include monitoring patients, keeping records on each one, ordering tests and getting results, assisting doctors and communicating with patients’ families.
The job duties that nurse practitioners perform include prescribing medications, creating treatment plans for their patients, find and treating illnesses and monitoring a patient’s illnesses.
Places Of Employment
Nurses mainly work in hospitals, nursing homes and schools. While many nurse practitioners have a private practice, others work at research or university hospitals.