Nurse Practitioner VS Doctor: Job Role Distinction Guide

You might have observed that nurses and doctors have different responsibilities irrespective of working on the same grounds. But what does that mean? To understand, we need to look into what these professions separately embody.

Nurse Practitioners (NP) are registered practicing nurses. They have the authority to diagnose illnesses, treat several conditions, and educate their patients and guardians. A nurse practitioner makes their diagnosis by checking the medical history of a patient. They perform physical check-ups and recommend medical tests if necessary.

A doctor is a medical professional with a long term of academic and field training. Their concerns revolve around maintaining, promoting, and restoring the health of their patients. They diagnose the illnesses and injuries, treat them, and make an effort to restore the health of their patient. While the work of an NP and a doctor overlaps, there are some differences.

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Both NP and doctors have the responsibilities to provide health care to their patients. To achieve this, they both have to record and study the patient’s medical history, symptoms and then diagnose the problem. Most of the time, both of these professionals work together to provide the best health care facility.

But there is a difference too. The duty of NP circles around their responsibility to provide primary care to a patient. On the other hand, a doctor is responsible for the complex diagnosis, operations, and intensive care.


Both professions require advanced degrees if they want to become practicing professionals in their respective fields. They have different exams that result in the issue of a license. This license allows them to practice professionally.

Nurse practitioners, however, have more requirements. Getting a license is a complicated procedure. They need to have a graduate degree, pass an exam, receive a certificate, and then apply for a permit. Nurses now prefer to enroll in the master of science in nursing online as they begin working in any clinical setting or hospital. These points are necessary to advance in career. Doctors, on the other hand, don’t need any specialization certification. If they do, it can enable them to get expertise in a specific area.


Nurse practitioners specialize in numerous fields. The most commonly chosen area of specialization includes neonatal care, family health, mental health, adult-gerontological care, oncology, and many more.

Doctors are more advanced in this scenario. They must have these specializations and more. When they aim to advance in dermal, cardio, or ENT — enrolling in a specialization program is their best choice.

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Doctors and nurse practitioners work in the health-related industry. Still, nurse practitioners have a broader scope of work environment options available. They can work at surgical suits, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, hospitals, colleges, home healthcare, and even cruise ships. The reason is that very few doctors enter the field of primary health care. Another reason employers prefer to hire a nurse practitioner is because of their capability to perform diverse duties.


Everywhere in the world, doctors have full authority to practice. It means that they don’t need supervision or restriction when practicing if they have a valid license. A nurse practitioner, however, has reduced or restricted practice freedoms. They can work in collaboration with a doctor if they want to prescribe medicines. No matter where they serve, a nurse practitioner is generally under the supervision of a physician.


Both doctors and nurse practitioners require specific skills if they want to work in the health care system. They must have a reliable communication system and quick thinking. These skills allow them to convey important information in emergencies.

The reason for that is constant exposure to illnesses, injuries, and death can desensitize a person. So they need to have the skill of compassion, as compassion promotes a positive attitude in patients, and hence, healing.

There are some differences in the skill sets of nurse practitioners and doctors. Nurse practitioners can work on the administration and even as a nurse. They need strong leadership and interpersonal skills for this reason. The patient and practitioner interaction has a lot of impact on the patient’s outcome, so sympathy and compassion are necessary.


The salary range varies between nurse practitioners and doctors. The reason is that they have different educational and training requirements for each profession. The average hourly income for a nurse is about $33.90. So the annual average wage for them ranges between $112,455 to $130,000.

A doctor, on the other hand, has an average hourly income of $89. The hourly wage can be higher if they are specialists or surgeons. So the yearly estimate of the minimum wage is $192,000 to $663,000, depending upon their field. The salaries vary based on location and specialty.


Nurse practitioners and doctors both play a crucial role in the health care system. They are responsible for improving patient health and ensuring a healthier society. Nurse practitioners have a unique and diverse role in health care. It is the first step in health care. They are responsible for leading the staff in the environment of a clinic. Which means they stand in the front lines of battling dangerous diseases.

The doctors, on the other hand, are experts in the field. They have a comprehensive knowledge of the specialty and focus on complete recovery and healing. They help the patient in improving the quality of life. It means that while both professions have similarities and differences, they tend to work together. Only by working together can they improve the health care system and curtail the miseries of people.

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