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differences between doctors and nurses

When visiting a hospital, whatever the case may be, you will have one or more nurses guiding you through each step, and your interaction with the doctor would be brief and to the point. Both doctors and nurses are healthcare practitioners but with different professions. Here’s a look at how they vary:

Different Path to the Profession

Before practice, Doctors are required to earn a Doctorate in Medicine, an Internship, and a Residency which takes up to 11-12 years in medical school. Meanwhile, it takes about 6 years of education to earn a Master in Nursing and start practising.

Most Doctors attend traditional classes where lessons are taken in person, and practical learning is given more importance. Meantime, nurse education now has the facility of taking up online courses to earn their degrees.


Nurses and Doctors have different licensing procedures. A nursing license is an all-round allowance allowing them to practice anywhere between a clinic or hospital. Meanwhile, a Doctor must obtain a license in a particular area of specialization like gynaecology, oncology, cardiology, etc. Therefore, it is not easy for them to change career paths.

Nurses Education Levels

The major difference between a nurse or doctor is the education level. While most doctors specialize in a particular area of health, nurses specialize in overall health care, so they are ready to assist in any given situation. Doctors often only diagnose and prescribe treatment according to their area of expertise. They may not be present all the time while nurses on duty also provide emotional and physical support when needed in addition to healthcare service.

Historical differences

A Doctor’s job has remained mostly the same throughout the years. They have the final say in the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. They have the upper hand when it comes to surgeries.

Whereas the nursing profession has undergone drastic changes over the years. Earlier nursing jobs were reserved for women. They were considered only as an assistant to doctors in giving medications and to clean up after patients.

Today nurses have more respect and self-sufficiency in their field than before. Now both men and women work in nursing fields.

Surgery and Medication

When it comes to surgery Doctors, have the upper hand. They are qualified and do the hands-on operation while nurses are only there to assist them with equipment, readings, etc.

Similarly, only Doctors are qualified to prescribe medicines and treatment plans for the patients. Nurses are qualified only to follow the medication and treatment plan provided by doctors.

Patient’s Outlook

Some patients and their families often think doctors are more important. They often tend to outlook the fact that nurses are health professionals and not mere assistants. Some patients or their families even misbehave with nurses by shouting or talking rudely to them.

The patients who show respect to nurses often witness the nurses go out of their way to keep them comfortable and get the right treatment. They may even detect symptoms that were missed both by doctor and patient.

Focus and Intimacy with Patients

Doctors are, in short, scientists who diagnose and find solutions to a given problem. They may not have much time to give individual attention to all their patients for longer periods of time.

Nurse’s approaches to patients are more like therapists because their focus is on the patient’s well-being, both physically and mentally.

This is not to say that the doctors don’t give emotional support, but during the course of your visit, you may need to see different doctors for different issues while a nurse knows about all of them and checks on you. 


Nurses have set shifts in which they work over the week, but doctors are often on-call duty 24 hours a day. Doctors should be available at any given duty time to report to work, whereas nurses have a system to follow, after which they are basically free.


The doctors spend more time in medical school and earn higher than a nurse. A nurse’s salary differs according to the duties and responsibilities they have.

In short, both professions have their own importance, and many of their services overlap each other. These professions are more like allies who need each other to provide the best service. Both jobs involve a lot of pressure because it is about saving lives on a daily basis. Both demand our respect.


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Mr. Raj Shekhar

Age 32, Chennai

My father had a surgery and required regular healthcare services. Portea has greatly helped him with their in-home healthcare services.

Portea has started home infusion of cerezyme 0.8 (cerezyme replacement therapy) of gaucher disease. From past 5years. I have been undergoing ERT at Delhi hospital. But now with the help of Sanofi Genzyme, Portea done our first home infusion of cerezyme. The team which visited our home (Raghvendra sir and pramod) in this thought condition COVID and rainy weather on time and attended us were highly professional. From the very first step till the and of therapy they did everything very well. They took every percuations, share every details with as regarding home infusion of cerezyme , used every necessary equipment (infusion pump) for therapy, monitored us thoroughly. This new intiative for ERT is very nice and impressive. Thank you Raghvendra sir Thanks to portea and Sanofi for this arrangement.

We would like to put on record that we found the services of Nurse Jeesha and Nurse Sridevi to be excellent. They were competent, dedicated and compassionate Nurses who were able to establish a good rapport with the patient and the family caregivers. Your Nursing Supervisor Anthony Michael responded promptly and effectively to our communications. We would be happy to recommend the services of Portea.