People sometimes consider nursing professionals and healthcare workers to be one and the same. In a nutshell, all nurses are healthcare providers, but not all healthcare providers are nurses.
The healthcare industry, also called the medical industry, covers a wide variety of sectors that provide treatment and care to patients. Under that umbrella, there are many different teams of professionals who have been trained to help meet the public's health needs. But what is the main difference between the two groups?
The Difference Between Healthcare Providers and Nurses
Nurses certainly are healthcare providers that help treat patients, but so are a wide variety of healthcare workers. Healthcare providers can range from medical assistance and medical billing and coding specialists to dental professionals, massage therapists, and allied health professions. All have undergone education and training specific to their areas of specialization so they can assist physicians, researchers, diagnosticians and others. Many of them also must pass certification exams.
Nursing is our country's largest healthcare profession, with more than 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide. Nurses also must be educated, trained and pass required exams; in their case, the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). However, their training and licensure is among the most rigorous because they must be able to competently administer medications, care for wounds, and perform various patient interventions. In short, nearly every healthcare service involves a nurse's participation.
Another thing that sets nurses apart is, while they typically work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, nursing technically operates independently of other medical disciplines. The role of a nurse may range from direct patient care and case management to developing quality assurance processes and directing complex care systems. That's why nurses usually represent the single largest component of a hospital staff.
Whichever area is the best fit for you; nursing or another healthcare profession; you would work in one of the nation's fastest-growing occupations and be a vital part of America's health care team. Fortis Colleges and Institutes offer a wide variety of nursing, healthcare and allied health programs. Learn more about nursing and healthcare professional programs at many of our Fortis campuses!