Is It Better To Be A Doctor Or Nurse? Let’s Find Out


It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? Is it better to be a nurse or a doctor, which one is more rewarding? The answer isn’t quite as simple as people think. First, it’s important that we get rid of a few misconceptions about doctors and nurses that confuse the issue. Firstly, there’s the problem with money. You might think that doctors make more money and on average they do. But don’t kid yourself. There are plenty of positions and specialties as a doctor that will mean you make no more than a nurse. Or even less than a nurse. You’d be amazed by what interns and junior doctors actually make. You won’t be buying any beamers with your paycheck in your first few years in medicine that’s for sure. Not unless you’re going to take out a hefty loan.

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Although, let’s be fair here. Eventually, doctors will almost always make more money. In fact, the top-earning doctors such as neurosurgeons can earn close to a million every year. Nurses, even top nurses tend to max out at roughly 150 grand. Still, we bet that’s a lot more than most people imagined that top nurses would make. Of course, salaries can rise even higher for both doctors and nurses who are working in the private sector. So, the moral to this is not to let anyone tell you that you can’t make a good living as a nurse. You definitely can, and you could make just as much as most other working professionals.

Another misconception is that doctors are more intelligent than nurses. As we’ll see a little further down this isn’t the case at all. It’s just that being a doctor or being a nurse aren’t quite as similar as they seem. Doctors and nurses have completely separate jobs that require unique skill and knowledge. If you’re a doctor, you need to know how to cure and treat. If you’re a nurse, you need to understand how to organize, arrange and operate. You’ll also learn quite a few skills that doctors rely on ninety-nine percent of the time. So no, being a doctor doesn’t make you a genius and being a nurse doesn’t mean that you are inept.

We think this idea is derived from the hundreds of medical shows that focus on the work of, surprise, surprise, doctors! In fact, it has led to numerous complaints from the nursing community that their side of the story is never told. Arguably a story based around doctors is always going to be more dramatic, but nurses are just as integral to a working hospital. Let’s look at some of the other differences between doctors and nurses.

Doctors & Patients, Nurses & Patients

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There’s a rather distinct difference here that most people don’t understand. Doctors in hospitals spend very little time with patients. A report revealed that a city doctor will spend on average about ninety seconds with each patient ythey see. That’s roughly about what you need to check for symptoms recommend a cure or pass the patient on to a specialist. It’s not enough to ask them about their personal life or find out about their family. In fact, it’s quite common for surgeons to never even meet the person that they are going to be operating on.

If a patient does form an emotional connection with a member of the medical team, it will be a nurse. If you want proof of this, doctors are told that they must have speech clarity and so do nurses. Basically, patients need to be able to easily understand what they are saying and explain everything as clearly as possible. However, only nurses are required to have speech recognition. Essentially, this means that doctors need to be understood, but they don’t need to understand. That’s the official recommendation of the medical industry!

So, if you are looking to interact with people on a daily basis and make connections, it’s the nursing lifestyle for you. On the other hand, if you want to just cut and run, welcome to the world of being a doctor. You’re going to love it, there’s virtually no human interaction at all.

Who’s In Charge Here?

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Do you long for leadership in your career and do you love being in charge? You might be wondering what position gives you more authority. Well, if you’re working with a patient or in the operating room, it’s the doctor that’s going to be in control. They’ll be deciding on the treatment for patients, they’ll be choosing what route to take to a solve an issue. Very rarely will you see nurses and doctors arguing about treatment? Doctors give the orders, and nurses get in line. Although there are cases where nurses know more than the doctor. Usually, this is because they have engaged with the patient on a more personal level. They’ve found out about their family history, and this has provided them with useful information to help the patient.

On the other hand, in other areas of the hospital, you might find it’s the nurses running the ship. After all, to be a nurse you need to have organizational skills. Nurses are responsible for making sure that patients get the right treatment and all the medicine is available. It would be both simplistic and foolish to describe nurses as the underlings of doctors. They are essentially just at a different level of management. If you don’t believe this, just remember, there are Occupational Health nurse jobs available that pay a lot of money and put you in a position of power. Essentially, you’ll be responsible for making sure that people do get the treatment that they need.

Education And Excellence

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Guess what skills and knowledge you need to be a doctor? Well, you’ll need some fantastic knowledge of biology and science, human anatomy, psychology, and sociology. Guess what nurses need? You guessed it, knowledge of biology, science, anatomy, psychology and sociology. Nurses also need to know computers and math which apparently, officially, doctors don’t.

Now we imagine you’re wondering why exactly it takes nearly ten years to train doctors. When it takes a couple of years to train nurses. Good question and we suspect it’s due to how in-depth doctors go with their training. Doctors can treat more complex illnesses and have a wider knowledge of medicine. Nurses essentially stop at ground level. But then again, that’s what ninety percent of your patients will need anyway. So, if you think there’s going to be times when doctors can do more than you as a nurse, you’re right. However, these will be few and far between.

The Lifestyle

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Let’s forget about money because we’ve already covered that. Instead, let’s look at working hours, job satisfaction and education levels. First, education. As already mentioned you need a massive amount of training to be a doctor. You’ll be lucky if after ten years a head of the hospital trusts you to choose your own treatment for a patient. There will usually be someone more experienced standing over you.

This isn’t true for nurses. After a couple of years, you’ll be expected to sink or swim. That said doctors have more responsibility for patients. If a patient dies on the table or in the operating room, it will be the doctor who is blamed not the nurse. Therefore, it can be argued that doctors have a far more stressful lifestyle.

That said, both professionals work similar hours. In fact, you’ll probably find that nurses work as much overtime as doctors. The only difference is usually doctors stay late because they have to and nurses stay because they might feel a duty to help their patients.

So which one is more suited for you? Good question and if we had to answer we’d suggest that nursing is more for people who love helping individuals. Becoming a doctor is a lot more about being competitive, striving to be the best and understand in depth info about how the body works.