Difference Between Doctor and Nurse (With Table)

Difference Between Doctor and Nurse (With Table)

When it comes to the medical profession, generally, people choose two options- either to become a nurse or a doctor(MD or DO). There are differences in both of them, and they affect our livelihood differently. We will examine both aspects and understand the differences between nurses and doctors.

Doctor vs Nurse

The main difference we can observe between Doctors and Nurses is that doctors can directly prescribe medication to their patients, on the other hand, the doctors direct nurses to do so. Although nurses can also directly prescribe medicines in most cases and circumstances, doctors do so.

Doctor vs Nurse

For almost every body part, there is a doctor who will diagnose and treat human diseases, injuries, and ailments and use their scientific techniques to solve best the problem of the patient concerned. Doctors also had to communicate and listen to their patients and interact with them to provide the best treatment.

On the other hand, for giving care and due attention, nurses are assisted, who are trained enough to help the patients in going through a difficult phase. They work with the doctors and, as advised by the doctors, to improve the lives of their patients. Their role is quite humane and deserves attention.

Comparison Table Between Doctor and Nurse

Parameters of ComparisonDoctorNurse
EducationA doctor can get a license in specified fields in which he has a specialization, such as cardiology or surgery.Doctors have no time to sit with patients and converse with them every day. They came once or twice a day to see their patients.
LicenseNurses can complete their training depending on their choice, there is less time they spend in medical schools.Nurses’ license has a wide spectrum; they can practice in whichever area they want.
Intimacy levelDoctors earn much more than nurses as they treat patients, so the costs are high.Nurses are too close with their patients. They always remain available and listen to patients almost every time.
Different focusDoctors are scientists, they study patients’ diseases and try to cure them.Nurses heal the patients and support them throughout.
IncomeNurses earn less because they are caretakers, assisting the doctors. Their work is to deliver care.
Nurses earn less, because they are caretakers, assisting the doctors. Their work is to deliver care.

What is a Doctor?

It takes years of preparation and hard work to become a doctor. Their roles are highly professional, and they take great care and seriousness to become a doctor. Their roles are not just to diagnose a patient’s illness but to talk and listen to them, administer medications, promote health education, evaluate new drugs, collaborate with other medical professionals, and many more.

Their workplace varies according to their interest, some work in government hospitals, while others work in a private facility or medical college. They need to study a lot and also require training. They need to obtain a license in their specified skill to profess.

If we talk about the skills required to become a doctor, doctors need both technical and soft skills. Technical as in, physical examination of drugs, performing surgeries, administering injections, follow-up care. Regarding soft skills, basic needs are communication, attention to small details, leadership, and being professional and well-behaved.

Doctors have to work day and night; we expect them during emergencies, and we know they are always available as and when required. Some doctors work full-time while some only part-time, but it depends on their area of work and what they wish to pursue.

What is a Nurse?

Nursing is one of the professions which gives employment and boosts career growth. Nurses are the caregivers who care for their patients, help assist the doctors, and work overall in all areas. They are not limited to one specific field but are responsible for almost every field.

There were days when nurses used to act as a maiden for doctors, but now they are equally responsible and work day and night to help heal their patients and make them recover fast. Nursing requires training and a diploma, which is not time-consuming and can be easily obtained.

The nurse’s duties are not just limited to taking care of patients but to regularly conducting tests, coordinating with other doctors, taking a detailed history of patients, listening to their needs, and administer drugs. Nurses can work in many places, like in hospitals, schools, medical colleges, clinics, pharmacies, and ambulances. It just depends on their skills and interests.

Nurses work in shifts and also have a lot of work. To become a nurse, the process is to opt for a degree because formal education is necessary and obtain a certified license to work in specified areas, go for employment opportunities, and choose a speciality.

Main Differences Between Doctor and Nurse

  1. Doctors diagnose the disease and provide treatment, whereas nurses assist the doctors in caring for their patients.
  2. Doctors require long schooling, including specializations that take 10 years, whereas nurses only require training and a diploma, completed within 4 to 5 years.
  3. Doctors earn more as they invest more in education, whereas nurses earn less than doctors.
  4. Doctors need a license in specified areas, such as surgery or cardiology, whereas nurses need a license but can practice in all areas of interest.
  5. Doctors have more hectic schedules as they need to work 24×7, although there are exceptions, whereas nurse works in shifts either morning or night.


In conclusion, the doctor has more work than a nurse, as he invests more time, energy, and skill. He treats the patients and accordingly keeps a watch on their health, whereas the nurse assists the doctor, works as required, gives care to their patients, and is always available to them.

Also, both are important for us as well as each other. A doctor is incomplete, and it will be difficult to operate without the help of a nurse, whereas a nurse needs guidance from a doctor; otherwise, there would be chaos. Thus, both are different, as they will complete each other.


  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM197007162830305
  2. https://academic.oup.com/intqhc/article-abstract/16/6/491/1805880

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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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