A common question that our team at Apollo often received is “What is the difference between a “Registered Nurse” (RN) and a “Nurse Practician” (NP)? Whether you are a nurse in training or are currently working in the field, understanding the difference and the opportunities that each offers you can be helpful.

Both a RN and NP are ambitious career choices – especially in times of medical crisis such as the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the health crisis has led many to consider beginning training to enter into the nursing field. Let’s take a look at the difference between both to see which may be the right choice for you!

The Benefits Of Training To Become A Nurse Practitioner

When it comes to the main differences, the path of an NP offers more autonomy and an increased level of training in a specialized field than if often afforded an RN. You can also expect higher wages and sometimes better benefits due to the increased level and length of training. Other benefits include:

  • The ability to open and operate your own clinic as an independent practitioner.
  • An increased ability to prescribe medications across the country and order testing for patients.
  • Nurse Practitioners have the education and ability to both diagnose patients and then help them manage it, much like a doctor would.
  • Nurse Practitioners have the authority to work independently, and also have increased opportunities to work in a variety of settings – both rural and urban.
  • NP’s also have the option to widen their scope of services beyond the typical bedside service in most RN roles.

The benefits of pursuing education and experience as an NP are vast, and for those who may desire to take their healthcare career further, the process is straightforward – especially for those who are already familiar with what it takes to make it in the medical profession.

The Process Of Becoming A Nurse Practitioner

The first step many take on their journey to becoming an NP is to obtain their Master’s degree as an NP or CNM. In fact, most NP programs require individuals to already be a professional RN before enrolling in an NP program. It is important to do your research and seek all the prerequisites before looking into any NP program.

Just like other career fields, NP programs will offer flexibility to coursework and clinical experience. Some programs will allow students to study part-time while working in their RN field, allowing for the combination of real-world experience and study. Some options offer online study, allowing even greater flexibility for pursuing education while engaged in a full-time medical career.

Here is a short breakdown of the most common requirements that many programs require prior to enrollment:

  • Active Registered Nurse (RN) license
  • A Minimum Acceptable GPA from previous education
  • One or  more years of experience in a medical clinic environment
  • GRE test results if applicable by program
  • Letter of intent to enroll in the program
  • References
  • Application and Fees

It is common to expect a full NP program to be completed in about two to three years, depending on the speed at which you are completing the education. Once in the program, there are several options for you to consider fulfilling your education, including:

  • ADN-NP
  • Diploma RN-NP
  • BSN-NP
  • Non-nursing MSN-NP

Once you have completed your degree of study in the NP program of your choice, you will sit for the nurse practitioner certification exam for your practice specialty. This exam is quite similar to the NCLEX that you likely completed for your RN. Should you complete all the steps and pass the exam, you will have earned your NP license and can begin taking on the world of medicine in an entirely new way!

Discover More Career Options With Apollo

So are you ready to take your next step in your healthcare career? At Apollo, one of our passions is connecting you with the tips and tricks that you need to succeed in whatever direction you head in medicine. Our team of experts from healthcare to the business world is here to give you the insights you need to succeed.

The team at Apollo helps connect the most qualified healthcare workers with hospitals and medical facilities in need every day – including RNs and NPs. Connect with Apollo online for more information today!

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