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Who does more of the work, doctors or nurses?


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James’s Answer

hi richard. i've been a family medicine physician for 20+ years. but my mother was a RN. when i was young i tagged along with her numerous times, in different hospital departments, at more than one hospital, and even when she worked at a private doctor's office. so i've seen many of the differences you're asking about.

but first, your question needs to be fixed. it's like asking "which does the most work: a car's engine or its tires." they're both indispensable to move the car but what they do and how much of that work they do is just not possible to compare.

your question really should be something like, "in what ways do the jobs of doctor and nurse differ?"

the simple answer is that the doctor bears responsibility for the overall direction of a patient's care. the nurse directly performs most of the ordered tasks.

i really encourage you to shadow some health care professionals. and in different settings. a hospital job is not going to be the same as an outpatient job. or a traveling job. or even a nursing home job.

once you've seen what a professional does in a typical day you'll get a really good feel about whether that job is right for you.

good luck!

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Rachel’s Answer

Doctors and nurses perform different jobs that are both important in caring for patients. As far as how many hours are worked, this is highly variable among physicians and among nurses. As far as how strenuous those jobs are...nurses do more heavy lifting, but doctors take phone calls from home, spend years getting trained to do their job, and also have to shoulder the ultimate responsibility for the patient's care.

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Estelle’s Answer

As everyone has said, the perfect healthcare team consists of everyone doing their job well. Everyone is working hard at their tasks. It is very important in any group project that no one person feel like they are doing most of the heavy lifting.

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Richard’s Answer

It takes more education and training to be a physician, but in the hospital being a nurse seems more demanding to me.

In my department, interventional radiology, the nurse working with me spend about 1-2 hours with each patient before, during, and after a procedure when my portion only takes 15-20 minutes. If we get called in for a case in the middle of the night, I will have finished the case, written orders, discussed the procedure with family members and be home while the nurses and technologists are still monitoring the patient, moving the patient to their bed and transporting the patient back to the emergency room. The nurse's job is also more physically demanding. After a daytime case, I can go back to my office and interpret CTs or x-rays while sitting down.

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Corin’s Answer

The work is different but equal. In a hospital setting the Nurses take care of between 2-6 patients at a time doing assessments, coordinating care, analyzing labs and vitals, educating, and making recommendations to the care team.

The doctors care for up to 30 patients analyzing the information collected by nurses, making decisions about interventions, and performing procedures if needed.

Each role is equally difficult they just do different parts of the job.

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