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What is the difference between a nurse and a doctor?

A photo of milliex51 milliex51
Is this question serious? There is a very big and obvious difference between nurses and doctors, which you should know if you've ever been anywhere around a hospital or doctor's office.
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A photo of ktel ktel
Is this question serious? There is a very big and obvious difference between nurses and doctors, which you should know if you've ever been anywhere around a hospital or doctor's office.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I'm a nursing student, and so maybe I can help clarify a few things for you. It's okay to be confused or if you're uncertain about which career path you may want to take... I wasn't sure when I initially applied into university, but it worked out and I absolutely love nursing so far!
As for the key differences (doctors and nurses are very different in terms of practice and focus), most doctors do the diagnosing (so they find out whats wrong, and tell the patient) and order medications and other orders. Nurses are the ones who really "care" for the patient (not saying that doctors don't care or anything), because nurses are the ones who ask personal questions (family, lifestyle, etc) and make sure they are comfortable, but most importantly they advocate for them - meaning they will stand up and speak out for the patient. Nurses are usually the ones patients go to for help, physically or emotionally and also conduct assessments, administer medications, etc.
I remember hearing "doctors diagnose, nurses heal" That kind of sums it up. lol
In the end, it all depends on your personality or what role you want to have. Do you want to have more of an authoritative role (doctor), or as a caretaker or helper (nurse)?
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A photo of flonightingale14 flonightingale14

@cccormier wrote
I'm a nursing student, and so maybe I can help clarify a few things for you. It's okay to be confused or if you're uncertain about which career path you may want to take... I wasn't sure when I initially applied into university, but it worked out and I absolutely love nursing so far!
As for the key differences (doctors and nurses are very different in terms of practice and focus), most doctors do the diagnosing (so they find out whats wrong, and tell the patient) and order medications and other orders. Nurses are the ones who really "care" for the patient (not saying that doctors don't care or anything), because nurses are the ones who ask personal questions (family, lifestyle, etc) and make sure they are comfortable, but most importantly they advocate for them - meaning they will stand up and speak out for the patient. Nurses are usually the ones patients go to for help, physically or emotionally and also conduct assessments, administer medications, etc.
I remember hearing "doctors diagnose, nurses heal" That kind of sums it up. lol
In the end, it all depends on your personality or what role you want to have. Do you want to have more of an authoritative role (doctor), or as a caretaker or helper (nurse)?



Just to add on to what ccormier said, the doctors' care tends to be more geared toward a "disease/diagnosis-focused care", while nurses are more focused on "client-centered care". We focus on helping patients manage their symptoms and focus on factors beyond the "disease-focused" care.

For example, you have a patient who has been admitted to the hospital due to a foot ulcer from type 2 diabetes. A doctor would prescribe the medicine, determine whether amputation would be necessary, determine the lab values to be done for blood work, etc... A nurse would be seeing the patients doing a full head to toe assessment (ex. checking their breathing, taking BP, assessing the wound, checking blood sugar, etc...) every morning and night, administration medication, changing their dressing, helping them manage other symptoms they may be experiencing such as pain, talking to them about their anxiety if they mention it (and if they have any), etc...

The nurses are with the patients all day. The doctors make their rounds every morning, do their own assessment and talk to the nurse regarding the patients. They come by once a day, usually in the morning. From there, the nurse and doctor discuss the patient and determine whether or not they think the patient should be moved to another unit, discharged, or should be prescribed another medication/referred to alternative therapies to help them manage their symptoms, etc...

It's not to say that ALL doctor's don't care about the patient's personal preferences or other psychosocial factors they may be going through. It's just doctors have a greater number of patients to see as compared to nurses. They don't have the time to be with the patients 24/7. This is why the doctors collaborate with the nurses to help gear the patient's care towards the patient's wants and needs. Just think about it, in a hospital unit, you have a doctor overseeing maybe about half of the patients on the floor (just guesstimating here). A nurse has about 4 to 5 patients to look after.

So, if you are deciding between a doctor or a nurse, it's up to you. Both focus on different things, but they are very rewarding careers. It all depends on what YOU want to do with your life and what you are
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A photo of milliex51 milliex51
Wow, thank you guys so much for giving me an understanding about the difference, really thank you!
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