What is Difference Between Nurse Practitioner and Doctor?

Here, doctor, we mean by physician

Nurse practitioners are trained nurses. They are primary caregivers and are trained to diagnose conditions. They can prescribe medication to patients and also suggest treatment. They can interpret lab tests and make treatment plans.

Doctors received higher training than nurse practitioners. His treatment technique encompasses his entire training. His preparation in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment is deep and intensive. The doctor’s care is more focused on identifying and treating diseases.

They diagnose the disease with drugs, radiation, or surgery. Doctors can opt for any particular field of study. They can advise on medication and perform surgery. They can practice anywhere as long as they get a license. The nurse practitioner does not specialize in a specific speciality like doctors.

Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Comparison Table


Nurse Practitioner

Doctor (Physician)


Must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and at least a master’s degree in nursing

You must have a bachelor’s degree and complete medical school.

Time To Practice

Nurse practitioners take 6-8 years of education and training.

Doctors take 11 years of education and training.

Typical Duties

Their responsibilities differ greatly.

Doctors’ duties vary by specialization.

License And Certificate

Nurse practitioners are licensed by the licensing board. Must obtain a registered nurse license

They are licensed by the licensing board. Their licensing requirements vary. They require recertification on a regular basis.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education requirements for nurse practitioners vary by specialization.

Continuing education and enhancement or continuing medical education vary by state.

Career Perspective

Between 2016-2026 nurse practitioners would increase by 36% than other occupations. This is according to the 2018 BLS report.

Vacancies for family and general practitioners would grow 14% between 2016 and 2026 according to the 2018 BLS report.

Who is the nurse practitioner?

They are trained professionals who determine the needs of patients and order and clarify the nature of a disease. They also read lab tests. They make plans and establish treatments for patients.

They work in conjunction with other professionals in the healthcare system to provide a full range of primary and distinctive healthcare services.

The health services offered include:
  1. Manage patient care
  2. Prescribe medications and other treatments
  3. Advice
  4. Educate patients on disease prevention and positive health style.
  5. Order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests such as X-rays.
  6. They diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, infections, and injuries.

Some nurses have also specialized in

  1. Pediatric/child health
  2. acute care
  3. adult health
  4. Oncology
  5. Family health
  6. women’s health
  7. Mental health

Who is the doctor?

A doctor is a qualified professional in the field of medicine. The centre of his work is to promote, provide and restore health. They do this through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of diseases and physical and mental deficiencies.

Doctor duties vary by speciality, but all Doctors must do the following:

  1. prescribe medication
  2. Prescribe and administer treatment
  3. Diagnose conditions
  4. Assess symptoms
  5. Refer patients to other providers, provide follow-up care, and interpret laboratory results.

Doctors are responsible for communicating findings to patients. They work with patients when they are most vulnerable. They perform specific tasks related to their speciality.

For example, surgeons must have the manual dexterity to perform a precise operation. They must spend many hours in the operating room.

Main Difference Between Nurse Practitioner and Doctor 


A nurse practitioner must obtain a degree in Nursing. She must be a registered nurse with a graduate degree. Nurse practitioners must spend four years as undergraduate students. They need an internship to gain work experience. They need to spend more than 2 to 4 years to continue their studies.

Doctors can hold both titles (Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). They must graduate from medical school/programs and complete a residency.

They have to study for a bachelor’s degree for four years. He spends another four in medical school. And then go from 3 to 7 years of residence. Her education and professional training are extensive compared to that of a nurse

Practice authority

Nurse practitioners do not have the full authority to practice. They must work closely or consult with Doctors to authorize medications. Nurse practitioners often work under the supervision of Doctors.

Doctors have direct jurisdiction. They offer internship services based on your education. They put their training and experience into practice without restriction. Any of the supervision as long as they have a license.


Nurse practitioners can focus and become experts in a particular service. Most of these areas include oncology and those listed above.

Doctors have these skills and experience. They are also experts in immunology, cardiology, dermatology and more.

Timeline to practice

Nurse practitioners take six to eight years of education and training.

Doctors devote 11 years to education and training.

Individual philosophical approach 

Nurse practitioners are doctors. Most of their activities focus on good health and mental state.

Doctors, at their core, are scientists. They research disorders and how to diagnose them.


Doctors and nurses are key professionals in achieving better patient outcomes. These experts are vital in the world of high-demand healthcare.

Both professionals have a unique role to play that can positively impact healthcare. These careers are great for anyone who wants to care for their patients.

There are several similarities between a doctor and a nurse. In addition, there are clear differences that keep the two professions distinct.

Anyone who wants to become a nurse practitioner needs a stable and advanced nursing education program. This is the critical avenue that will lead you to build a career in the developing field of healthcare.

Courtesy: Queens College

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