The rising healthcare demands have made nurse practitioners fill in the gap as doctors. This doesn’t mean they both are seen as the same. 

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Nurse practitioners and doctors have the same goal: to attend to patients’ needs through medicine and other guaranteed methods. 

Top 5 Differences Between Nurse Practitioners and Doctors

Career Path

Doctors go through the process of education and training, which sums up to about 12 years.

They start by getting a bachelor’s degree in medicine which runs for four years, after which they undergo a 4-year medical school and then graduate with the title of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy. They go ahead for their internship and residency, which is 12 years. 

Nurse practitioners start with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing, after which they enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). 

With that, they sit for the national nurse practitioner certification exam, and with a good grade and license, they practice. This sums up a total of 6 years of education and training. 

Different Specialities

Doctors have a limited range of specialties, unlike nursing. Most doctors go into general practice, others get to specialize in one field, like cardiovascular surgery, which deals with the heart, and gynecologists specialize in the diseases of women. 

The point is this, specializing in one field requires that doctors complete more residencies before practice. This prolongs their education. 

On the other hand, nurses have a wide variety of specializations, including but not limited to Public Health Nursing, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Nurse Executive, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, etc. 


The doctors’ license differs from that of nurse practitioners; broadly, doctors are streamlined towards practicing in a specialized medical field. If they need to move to another field, that will require another degree and training. 

Unlike doctors, nurse practitioners are given licenses covering all medical specialties. 

Salary Difference

Doctors earn more than nurse practitioners despite having similar privileges. There may be no genuine reason for this longstanding act, but it is believed that doctors spend more time and resources on education and training. 

A nurse practitioner earn an annual salary of $ 111, 680 ( $56.87/hr) while a doctor earns $ 208,000 ($100.00/hr)

Intimacy Level

Nurses spend more time with patients than doctors. Despite having a formal relationship with patients, a nurse can have a chat with a patient at intervals. 

This is what a doctor would not do; doctors are only called in when there’s an emergency. The nurse stays with patients from the time of admission till when they are discharged. The bond between a nurse and the patient cannot be compared with that of a doctor. 

This disparity results from the job description of nurses, which entails paying close attention to their patients and administering treatment at intervals. 

A general nurse and nurse practitioner have this orientation. 

Before choosing the profession you would love to venture into, it’s good to read up on the job description of both nurses and doctors. In all, follow your passion.

Also, Read: 6 FAQs About BSN to DNP Program

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