The nursing field contains several different specialties. Nurses have a chance to develop skills in other areas by switching positions. Many nurses begin as Registered Nurses (RNs) and then become Nurse Practitioners (NPs) as a natural part of professional development.
Though there are some overlaps, these two positions are different.
In this blog, we will explore the following:
- What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?
- What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
- Similarities Between Both Roles
- Differences Between Both Roles
- RN vs. NP Salary
- Educational Requirements
- Nurse Practitioner vs. RN: How to Choose the Right Path for You
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What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?
Nurse practitioners perform many of the same duties that a physician would do. They visit patients, diagnose and create treatment plans. Nurse practitioners also work with patients who have chronic conditions to help manage the situation and make necessary changes.
Additional duties involve:
- Managing other nurses and staff within the clinic
- Ordering diagnostic tests for patients
- Prescribing medicine to patients
- Administer routine and detailed examinations
- Explaining complicated medical and treatment plans to patients and family
- Analyzing tests results to discover causes for symptoms
- Collect information and samples from patients
What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Registered nurses act as primary caregivers to patients. They perform the following duties:
- Administer IV medications
- Complete admission assessments
- Develop nursing care plans
- Take verbal orders from a doctor or nurse practitioner
- Provide blood products
- Pronounce time of death in long-term care or hospice facilities (only some states allow RNs to do this)
- Access or flush PICC lines, subcutaneous ports, or central lines
- Administer insulin drips, cardiac medication drips, or total parenteral nutrition
- Give chemotherapy medications or administer dialysis
Similarities Between Both Roles
RNs and NPs both share an ability to specialize and work in diverse environments.
They assist patients in medical settings such as hospitals, urgent care clinics, or long-term care facilities. And in both roles, the nurses work directly with the patient and their families. However, RNs typically can work in more types of settings than NPs.
Most nurse practitioners find themselves in a clinical setting while there are some registered nurses who work on cruise ships.
Differences Between Both Roles
RN vs. NP Salary
There’s a significant pay jump from the RN to NP position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2020 average pay for registered nurses is $80,010, while nurse practitioners’ median income is $117,670 per year.
You may wonder to yourself why there’s such a significant difference. The reason why nurse practitioners make more money than registered nurses is because they have an advanced degree.
Also, the nurse practitioner’s role is more expansive than the registered nurse’s. The nurse practitioner has much more responsibility and autonomy than the registered nurse.
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One of the main differences between an RN and an NP is their level of education. The nurse practitioner role requires an advanced degree. Most nurse practitioners have either a master’s or doctorate degree.
Both roles require clinical training as well. RNs generally need at least 400 hours of clinical experience. NPs typically need about 500 or more hours.
RNs and nurse practitioners can also engage in continuing education to retain licensing.
Nurse Practitioner vs. RN: How to Choose the Right Path for You
Now that you know the differences between both roles, you have the information to make a sound decision. Both parts offer their benefits and drawbacks. Despite the difference in salary for the nurse practitioner position, it comes with more responsibility and in some situations autonomy.
More responsibility can lead to more significant burnout for nurses. Accordingly, the registered nurse role might seem less stressful in scope. On the other hand, some people excel in leadership roles with greater responsibility. It depends on the person.
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