Nurse Practitioners Explain Key Differences Between NPs and Registered Nurses

nurse tending patient in intensive care
Photo credit: OJO Images RF/Getty Images

If you’ve ever wondered what the exact difference between an RN and an NP is, Nurse Alice broke it all down in her podcast episode with Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, hospitalist, and TV medical contributor, Dr. James Simmons. 

Dr. Simmons is the face and force behind the account @askthenp, as well as the website AsktheNP.com, where is a reliable and passionate healthcare voice. Here’s how the conversation between these two dynamic NPs went down. 

Listen To Dr. James on the Ask Nurse Alice podcast - on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player!

To kick off their conversation, Dr. Simmons shared a fascinating look at his entry into nursing. Although he actually has a Bachelor's and a background in broadcast news journalism, Dr. Simmons told Nurse Alice that he knew he wanted to enter the world of nursing. 

So, while working his first job at PepsiCo. he attended CNA school at night, earned his EMT at the same time, and began working in an ER department. While working at the ED, he went through an accelerated nursing program to earn his BSN. 

“It was the craziest 15 months of my life,” he recalled. 

Following successful completion of his nursing program and NCLEX certification, he took an additional two and a half years to earn his license as an NP. Now, Dr. James has gone on (obviously) to earn his DNP and has been working as an NP for 8 years now as a nurse hospitalist. 

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