Registered Nurse vs. Nurse Practitioner
What Is a Registered Nurse?
- Detail oriented and organized.
- Mentally and physically strong.
- Patient and resilient.
- Able to manage stress.
- Critical thinker who uses sound judgment.
- Effective communicator.
What Does an RN Do?
- Acute care.
- Infectious disease.
- Women’s health.
What Is a Nurse Practitioner?
What Does an NP Do?
Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner Roles at a Glance
For registered nurses:
- Minimum education: Associate Degree in Nursing.
- Continuing education requirements: These requirements for RNs vary from state to state. More information is available from each state’s Board of Nursing and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
- Licensing and certification: Registered nurses must register with the Board of Nursing in the state where they work and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. An application to take the exam must also be completed as well as payment of a fee. RNs who move to another state must register with the board in that state, although a re-examination may not be required. The Nurse Licensure Compact allows a nurse to have one multistate license, providing the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states for a limited time.
- Duties: A registered nurse’s responsibilities may include any of the following:
- Providing and coordinating care.
- Educating patients and the public about health conditions.
- Providing guidance and emotional support to patients and their families.
- Assessing a patient’s signs and symptoms.
- Documenting various aspects of a patient’s care.
- Administering medications and treatments.
- Creating care plans for patients and families.
- Collaborating with other health care professionals.
- Operating medical equipment.
- Assisting with diagnostic testing.
- Answering questions related to informed consent.
- Specialization: There are many types of nursing certifications available — which often carry a requirement for a minimum of two years of clinical experience in that specialty area as part of eligibility to sit for the specialty exam.
- Salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2018 RN median annual salary was $71,730 per year.
- Occupational demand: The BLS projects that registered nurse job growth will increase 12 percent from 2018 to 2028.
- Prescribing ability for medications: No, registered nurses are not able to prescribe medications.
For nurse practitioners:
Salaries of RNs and NP
Career Outlook for RNs and NPs
- Physicians’ offices.
- Outpatient treatment facilities.
- Home health care.
- Correctional facilities.