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Medical Profession Confusion

Updated on January 1, 2013

Medical Profession Confusion

I authored this lens in order to clear the air of confusion that I once had, and I imagine that others may still have also. There are quite a few Medical Professionals whose names are similar, yet the job and the level of responsibility varies greatly. I will start the lens talking about different kinds of nurses, different kinds of nursing professions, and also touch upon the Pharmaceutical profession, and the see where that takes us.

Please enjoy your stay.

The Main Differences between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacist or a pharmacy technician – what is the difference? These two professionals have different specific duties and their salaries differ, as well. The pharmaceutical industry is growing on an international level and many people are considering a career in it. If you are one of these individuals, you need to understand what each pharmaceutical job implies.

The Pharmacy Technician

This professional is also called a pharmaceutical technician sometimes. The pharmacy technician has to handle most of the administrative duties and is usually working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Most often, the pharmacy technician will review prescription requests and will communicate with patients on a regular basis to make sure that medicines are taken in the correct manner.

Pharmacy technicians can work in hospital pharmacies, as well as in insurance companies, governmental organizations or educational facilities. Entry-level pharmacy technicians need only high school education. In some states, pharmacy technicians are required to complete additional training and to pass an exam.

The job has significant growth potential and the demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase in the future. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand will grow by 32 percent until 2020.

To become a pharmacy technician, many candidates are required to first undergo an internship at the pharmacy. The approved candidates will then be hired full-time, getting the opportunity to learn everything about the profession and to get the experience needed for a promotion in the industry.

In terms of salary, an entry level pharmacy technician will make an average of 32,124 dollars per year. More experienced technicians earn a median of 36,728 dollars per year.

The Pharmacist

A pharmacist is the person that has most of the responsibilities in the pharmacy. A pharmacist needs university-level education, most commonly a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The training involves studies of anatomy, physiology and chemistry. Pharmacists are the people who are responsible to know how drugs function, what the possible side effects are and what therapeutic qualities each substance has.

Pharmacists are the only pharmaceutical professionals that can provide patients with recommendations about medications. Pharmacists deal with new clients while pharmacy technicians are allowed to handle the purchase needs of regular clients only.

The pharmacist can work in a pharmacy, hospital, clinic, a research facility, a pharmaceutical company or a governmental facility. Bureau of Labor Statistics information reveals that the demand for licensed pharmacists will increase by 25 percent until 2020.

A pharmacist can earn an average of 115,890 dollars per year. The salary, bonuses and benefits reach a total of 158,137 dollars per year, according to the US national averages for 2012.

Both pharmacy technicians and pharmacists have great career opportunities and possibilities to climb the professional ladder. A pharmacy technician can subsequently obtain a pharmacist degree, if he is willing to pursue university education in the profession. The steadily growing demand for experts in the pharmaceutical sector indicates that it provides excellent professional options and the stability that all professionals need.

The Specifics of Different Nursing Jobs

Medical Professionals
Medical Professionals

When talking about this particular profession, we all use the general term "nurse." Nurse, however, is highly inaccurate and too broad to encompass the different duties and specializations that nursing professionals have.

The most common nursing jobs are the ones of a registered nurse (RN), a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a nurse practitioner (NP). Do you know what the main differences between these three professions are?

Licensed Practical Nurse

The licensed practical nurse needs to complete one year of training after the high school graduation. LPNs are typically licensed by the state where they obtained the education. These professionals are the ones involved in the most common and essential nursing duties.

LPNs will have to take the medical history of a patient, do the necessary measurements for proper health assessment, discuss symptoms and administer injections or medications. The LPN will also provide the basic bedside care for a patient.

The licensed practical nurse can work in a hospital or a specialized facility like a nursing home. LPNs are also responsible for the provision of healthcare services in the home of the patient.

In terms of salary, the LPN makes 41,750 dollars on an annual basis, according to 2012 data. LPNs working on a per-hour basis can expect to make anywhere between 12 and 18 dollars per hour depending on the city that they work in and on experience.

Registered Nurse

To work as a registered nurse, a person will have to complete a two to four-year training period. Before obtaining their licensing, RNs have to successfully pass a national examination.

The RN typically deals with some medical procedures that LPNs are unauthorized to perform. The registered nurse will help the patients determine a treatment plan and such a professional will be responsible for prophylactics and the selection of the best preventive practices for the needs of the patient.

An LPN can decide to continue studying in order to become an RN. RNs on the other hand can get further licensing to begin working as nurse practitioners or specialists in the fields of anesthesiology, cardiology, oncology, or pediatric care.

The US national average salary for a registered nurse is 66,422 dollars. The bonuses, social security and other benefits bring up the figure to 93,969 dollars.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners need to complete graduate level education, becoming either a Doctor of Nursing Practices or a Master of Nursing.

NPs can treat patients and some of their main duties include physical examinations, the interpretation of diagnostic tests and the writing of prescriptions. NPs are granted autonomy, which is the main difference between them and the RNs. A registered nurse can work solely under the supervision of a doctor.

The NP is different from a physician assistant (PA), an NP is a professional allowed to practice medicine as a part of a medical team without being a doctor.

The nurse practitioner makes 91,425 dollars on the average. The salary, bonuses and benefits figure climbs up to 126,343 dollars per year.

Understanding the differences between nursing jobs is essential for people who are deciding about a career in the medical field and for patients who are about to undergo treatment. The general term fails describing the nuances and important differences between nursing professionals.

The highlights of a great resource on the web detailing the professions discussed in the lens.

Nursing Poll

Do you want to be a nurse?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I work as medical assistant, and I dont care how they call me as long as I get payed for my work. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      It would be great if all these things would be putted in simple matters because current state sure is confusing, I never know who is who, and who is responsible for task...

    • profile image

      Edith54 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      To be honest, im still confused about all this...

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for the positive feedback.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: It can be confusing, but there can be clarity when you look into it.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @diadi1989: From my end, I was impressed with the myriads of levels of skills and responsibilities.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That's very flattering, thank you.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: They can be, but one has much more responsibility, and the other is easier to train for. Thanks for the question Marianna.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @RobynBergstrom74: And thank you for the visit and for leaving a comment.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: hahaha, I agree bro.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @Natalie84: Thank you Natalie.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for making me see thins clearly now.

    • BobRapp profile image
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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for the feedback.

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      BobRapp 4 years ago

      @CorneliusDickinson109: And I wish for you that you never have to know all the differences :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thumbs up for useful share.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for taking your time and making things more clear.

    • profile image

      tiofa1981 4 years ago

      Yeah, I can understand that there are some differences, but i also have feeling that many times that are just some different names for same thing, and im sure that im not the only one. :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Medical field is just soooooo big that it is no wonder that people get confused when they hear all those different but similar ocupation titles...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Well it is great to know that there are some differences, but I dont think I will ever be able to understand them, or to remember them.

    • profile image

      digre1979 4 years ago

      Anyone have any idea about how many medical professions are officialy registered out there???

    • profile image

      DuncanBeam175 4 years ago

      Thank you for explaining few things. It makes sens now when im reading this, before i was always lost.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Good info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have bookmarked this one, and im sure going to come back again :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      hmmm...do we really need all these profession names? Manny of them could be putted under same name.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Squid like for good explanation!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Im glad i stumbled upon this lens, it made me understand some differences in medical field professions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You are right, this sure can be confusing!

    • profile image

      diadi1989 4 years ago

      Eyes opener! :) Now I see why I get reminded so many times when i call someone nurse, but she is just medical assistant.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I will be followin you from now on here on squidoo. See you next time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      A pharmacist or a pharmacy technician... I still dont get it!? Couldnt one person be suitable for both?

    • profile image

      RobynBergstrom74 4 years ago

      Nice work. Thank you for your effort.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      maaaaaan... different kinds of nursing??? This is worst than politics :)

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      Natalie84 4 years ago

      Good to know where i can check the differences next time i get confused again.

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      CorneliusDickinson109 4 years ago

      ahhh... all i need to know is doctor and nurse... I dont care much about what kind a nurses there are, only thing it matters for me is that they do their job.