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What is the difference in study/job between a Pediatric Nurse and a Pediatrician?

I want to work in Pediatrics, but I don't know what's the difference between a Pediatric Nurse and a Pediatrician. Does one require more schooling? And what does each job does that differ from one another? #pediatrics #pediatric-nursing #pediatrician #pediatric-nurse


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Cathleen’s Answer

The main differences are in duration of education and levels of responsibility. A pediatric nurse completes a bachelor's degree in nursing (usually 4 years), must pass a National licensure exam and then can work as a nurse. A pediatrician is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in pediatrics. The pediatrician must complete college (4 years), then graduate from medical school (4 more years), then complete an internship (2-3 more years) before the pediatrician can begin to practice. In responsibility, the nurse will deliver nursing care which would be helping with activities of daily living (bathing, hygiene), physical assessments of the patient, giving medications that are prescribed by a health care provider (MD, CRNP or PA), report any changes in the patient status to the provider and provide health teaching. The pediatrician, as an MD, will perform physical examinations, order lab tests and medication, diagnose and treat illness, perform medical procedures and provide health teaching to a lesser degree. Essentially, the pediatrician is autonomous whereas the nurse can provide nursing care but can only deliver medications and perform some procedures if these are ordered by a health care provider. Hope that helps!


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Sarah’s Answer

A nurse only requires a nursing certicate or a bachelor's degree in nursing. Pass your licensure and your on your way. Then you can choose what department you work in. A nurse spends more physical time with children helping them in their daily routine. A pediatrician requires medical school, residency and internships. A lot more school! But of course that schooling leads you toward a lot more knowledge and focus in pediatrics.

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Rachel’s Answer

To be a pediatrician, you will spend a minimum of 11 years in school after high school versus 4 years to be a nurse. I would shadow both professions as much as possible while you are still in school to help make the decision for yourself about what role you would like to play in the healthcare field.

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Estelle’s Answer

I agree with Cathleen . The biggest difference is the amount of responsibility and the level of care. The pediatrician is writing orders and directing care, but the nurses are the ones carrying out the actual orders, especially in the hospital. The doctors round on patients daily or twice daily, but the nurses are there all day every day.

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Sean’s Answer

The short answer is that both involve taking care of infants and kids, however the schooling and care provided is much different.
For a Nursing degree you are looking at 4 years and to be an MD you are looking at 8 to 10 years of schooling. In the long run the pay scales do reflect this difference in schooling.
Nurses tend to be more hands on with patients and will spend lots of time with them, where as MD's tend to spend less time with the patients and more time looking over and managing the care.

Hope this helps.

Thank you very much! Your explanation really clears up a lot of questions that I have. I think I might go for a Pediatric Nurse then Nicole Kelly O.

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Richard’s Answer

To be a registered nurse you would need a 4 year college degree.

In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.


During college study for and complete the MCAT. Apply to medical schools during your last year of college.

Medical school takes 4 years to complete.

After medical school physicians complete a residency for additional training. Pediatric residency lasts 3 years and can be followed by additional fellowship training.

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