There is no denying that the healthcare industry is one of the most lucrative and rewarding career fields worldwide. However, the industry does not restrict itself to doctors and physicians. Today, with the advancement in technology and growth in population, the industry is growing at a much faster rate. That said, do you have a passion for treating people, provide the best quality care, and overall help people in need? In that case, pursuing a career in the healthcare industry might be a perfect idea. 

Is it confusing you whether to go for a doctor’s degree or a nursing degree? Although the primary objective of both professions is to provide the best quality care, there is a significant difference between these two career fields. Well, the guide below can help you learn the difference between these two professions.

1. Education And Training

To become a registered nurse, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree (BSN) from a reputable institute. Subsequently, it would help if you took the NCLEX-RN examination to attain a state license. It is recommendable to get hands-on training for at least two years before applying for a master’s degree. However, if you wish to advance in your nursing career and become a future leader in nursing but can’t fulfill your dreams because of long work hours as a nurse, there’s an option for that too. Technology has blessed the world with online education. So, you can opt for online DNP programs to acquire leadership roles in the nursing field. The best thing about pursuing an online degree is that you can learn at your pace in the comfort of your home. That way, you don’t have to worry about work or family commitments. 

Doctors, however, spend a comparatively extensive period to complete their education and training compared to nurse practitioners. Therefore, the first step to becoming a doctor requires you to earn a bachelor’s degree from medical school. After that, you need to clear the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to pursue a master’s degree in your field of interest. You also need to complete three to seven years of residency to get hands-on practice before applying for licensure. 

2. License And Certifications

After completing the desired educational requirements, your next step is to earn a state license before beginning your practice. Keep in mind that the license requirements may vary from state to state, so make sure to check the requisites before taking exams. The best part about earning a certification or licensure in nursing is nurses can switch to any other specialty without much hassle. In this way, both GI and ICU nurses take the same licensure exam and training. 

However, you must complete your residency and meet the educational requirement to acquire your license as a doctor. In addition, both nurses and doctors would need to apply for re-certification after the certificate expires. 

3. Specialization

When it comes to specialization, both nurses and doctors can specialize in multiple areas. However, the specialty field differs for each one of them. And the good news is that both fields (medicine and nursing) provide opportunities to professionals to broaden their knowledge and advance further in their careers.

Below are some of the nursing specialties that you can go for:

  • Family nurse practitioner: Being an FNP, you can provide optimum care to everyone ranging from kids to older people. The primary responsibility of an FNP is to spread awareness about healthy practices.
  • Nurse anesthetist: As a CRNA, your responsibility includes providing anesthesia to patients and collaborating with surgeons and doctors before the medical treatment. Some other roles you can acquire after specialization include nurse educator, midwife, pediatric nurse, and orthopedic nurse practitioner. 

On the other hand, some typical specialties for doctors are:

  • General internist: If you specialize in internal medicine, your responsibility will include treating patients with chronic diseases like blood pressure problems, diabetes, obesity, allergies, etc. 
  • Cardiologist: As a cardiologist, you will treat patients with cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

4. Job Outlook And Work Environment

According to BLS, the nursing sector is likely to grow by 7% by 2029, with approximately 221,900 job opportunities for aspiring nurses. However, the employment growth for physicians is low compared to the nursing profession, around 4%. But due to extensive educational background, physicians earn more salaries than nurses. The median salary for doctors in the year 2020 was $100.00 per hour.

Although the work environment for nurses entirely depends on the type of specialization, many nurses choose to go for private group practice. They also work alongside physicians in their offices, OPDs, and private clinics. Whereas doctors generally practice privately or in healthcare facilities, governmental agencies, or educational institutions.

Both these admirable professions have to experience high amounts of stress levels since these professionals are responsible for making a real difference in people’s lives. While both of them have somewhat similar responsibilities, there are many notable differences that you can’t ignore. 

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