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RN Versus NP: What’s the Difference?


Emcara Health Editors


May 31, 2023


Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are both important members of your Emcara Health home-based primary care team.

What Do Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses Do?

Both are important members of your Emcara Health home-based primary care team. But they have very different roles. Here’s what you need to know.

Trying to find the right healthcare provider can be hard. After all, there are so many options to choose from, and it’s important to find someone you trust.

At Emcara Health, we believe in matching patients with care team members who are best qualified to meet each patient’s specific needs. And, our team of skilled care providers delivers that care.

A nurse practitioner and registered nurse are two important members of your at-home care team. At first glance, it might be hard to understand the differences between the two. But both are important to delivering care to our patients.

So, what makes a nurse practitioner different from a registered nurse? And how do you know who to go to for the care you need? Here’s a closer look at each role.

RN Versus NP: What You Need to Know

A registered nurse (RN) is a care team member who works with doctors and other clinicians to treat and educate patients. A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who’s done additional, graduate-level training.

That extra training means an NP is qualified to diagnose patients, run tests, and prescribe medications, much like a doctor can. Because of these differences, it’s important to know exactly what your medical needs are, says Drina Portman, DNP, APRN-BC, and director of care solutions at Emcara Health.

“It depends on the type of care patients are seeking,” Portman says. “If you’re looking for basic care, let's say with a wound, then you would be cared for by a registered nurse. But you would go to the nurse practitioner if you need someone to evaluate a medical condition, order tests, and manage it medically.”

An advantage of being treated by an NP is that they have learned the skills and understand the perspective of an RN, Portman says.

It’s important to remember that RNs are experts at managing a patient’s care. Because they’re constantly interacting with patients, they gain a deep understanding of their care needs. So, at Emcara Health, our RNs and NPs work together to address the needs of the patients we serve.

The Emcara Health Approach for Home-Based Care

Delivering care that’s tailored to the patient is our focus at Emcara Health. In fact, NPs and RNs are a part of a larger team that coordinates treatment and care for our patients. Often, our NPs are involved with hiring and training our staff, ensuring they meet the high standards we require.

By providing you with carefully selected care team members, we ensure that you have easy access to professionals who work together while also coordinating with any of your other doctors and family members.

One way this team provides one-of-a-kind care is by developing a treatment plan that takes your unique medical, behavioral, and social needs into consideration. And our team delivers that personalized care in the comfort of your home. We come to you when you need us.

Often, our NPs will create treatment plans for patients. RNs share their own insights on each patient and then help carry out the plans. This collaboration between providers means that we are always focused on what’s best for each patient. It lets us build trust with patients while giving them access to the highest quality care possible.

“Nurse practitioners will sometimes start the treatment plan, and then the registered nurses will help with the follow-up and make sure the treatment is working for the patient,” Portman says.

“And if it’s not working, then the registered nurses can get that feedback to the nurse practitioner to adjust the treatment plan,” she continues. “It really is a team approach.”

To learn more about Emcara Health, call 1-800-728-0901 from 9 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday.

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