Difference Between Doctor and Nurse (With Table)

When it comes to the medical profession, generally people go for two options- either they want to become a nurse, or a doctor(MD or DO). There are differences in both of them, and they affect our livelihood in different manners. We will look into both aspects and understand the differences between nurse and doctor.

Doctor vs Nurse

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

Doctor vs Nurse

For almost every body part, there is a doctor who is going to diagnose and treat human disease, injuries, ailments and use their scientific techniques to best solve the problem of the patient concerned. Doctors also have to communicate and listen to their patients and had to interact with them, so that the best treatment could be provided.

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
EducationDoctors require more education than nurses. Doctors at least spend decades in school and require much more education as compared to nurses.Nurses can complete their training depending upon their choice, there is less time they have to spend in medical schools.
LicenseA doctor can get the license in specified fields in which he has done specialization such as cardiology or surgery. The license of nurses has a wide spectrum, they can practice in whichever area they want.
Intimacy levelDoctors have no time to sit with patients and have a conversation with them every day. They came once or twice a day to see their patients.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.
IncomeDoctors earn much more than nurses as they treat the patients, so the costs are high.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 take a lot of 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 to them, 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 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, then doctors need both technical as well as soft skills. Technical as in, physical examination of drugs, performing surgeries, administering injections, follow up care. When it comes to soft skills, basic needs are communication skills, paying attention to small details, leadership skills, and being professional and well-behaved.

Doctors have to work day and night, we expect them during any emergencies and we all 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, helps in assisting the doctors, and work overall in all the areas. They are not just limited to one specific field but are responsible for almost every field.

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

The duties of the nurse 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, administering drugs to them. Nurses can work in many places, like in hospitals, schools, medical colleges, clinics, pharmacies, ambulances. It just depends on their skills and interest.

Nurses work in shifts and also they have a lot of work to do. To become a nurse, the process is just 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 chose a specialty.

Main Differences Between Doctor and Nurse

  1. Doctors diagnose the disease and provide treatment, whereas nurses assist the doctors, take care of their patients.
  2. Doctors require long schooling including specializations that take 10years, whereas nurses only require training and a diploma which gets completed within 4 to 5 years.
  3. Doctors earn more as they invested more in education whereas nurses earn less than doctors.
  4. Doctors need a license in specified areas such as surgery or cardiology whereas nurses too 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 the patient’s health, whereas the nurse assists the doctor, works as required and 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 well 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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