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The difference stems from purpose and the resulting training that takes place. Doctors have a managerial role when it comes to the care of the patient. They create and co-ordinate the care plan of the patient, ensuring they receive attention from the required healthcare professionals e.g. physios, dieticians, nurses and so forth. In producing the care plan, they take the patients history and explain to them what options are available. The patient then decides how they would like to go about their care and doctors help facilitate this. Nurses are essential. They are the frontline in caring for patients by monitoring their quantitative health measures (Vital signs, mobility, food intake/output, additional concerns e.g. mental health) and they also provide health decisions in the absence of the doctor. Nurses may also work in co-ordination with doctors by assisting them in surgeries or providing them with an opinion. Nurses are becoming ever more specialised with the ability to prescribe medication and carry out additional clinical examinations. Tl;dr: Doctors diagnose and plan, nurses treat and monitor. Disclosure: These are all relatively generalised observations from my experiences as a medical student and as a healthcare assistant. This description is not all encompassing; both doctors and nurses are far more multi-faceted than I care to describe and their continue to evolve over time.
A doctor and a nurse are required to work closely together but have different roles within healthcare. A doctor is involved in the diagnosis, investigations, treatment, management and follow up of patients. Doctors train for 5 years and are trained in medicine (using medication), medical procedures and some surgical procedures. Nurses are more involved in the care of patients and train for 3 years in caring for ill people as well as diagnosis and treatment of the most common conditions. There are many similarities such as the attitudes and personality traits that both professions have however the day to day lives of doctors and nurses vary a lot. In addition, different doctors and nurses have very different roles depending on their speciality. There is more information on the GMC (general medical council) and the NMC (nursing and midwifery council) websites.
Both doctors and nurses are obviously important to the medical industry. One provides opinions and diagnosis (doctor) while the other offers aid and physical treatment (nurse). In short, they are both complementary factors to what makes a medical facility operate smoothly. Doctors make the decisions whilst nurses are more to do with patient contact and fulfilling routine tasks.
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