Nurses: Do You Know the Difference Between RN, RPN, and NP? skip to Main Content

Nurses: Do You Know the Difference Between RN, RPN, and NP?

doctor's jacket with pens in the pocket

If you’ve ever received medical care in this province, you’ve likely encountered a nurse. Whether it was at home, school, a regular check-up at the clinic, or a major health problem at a hospital, nurses are often at the front of the line in health care. Nurses provide generalized or specialized care to people of all ages, from newborn infants to geriatric patients. But did you know that there are different types of nurses in Ontario, and each type of nurse provides a special sort of care to their patients?

Registered Practical Nurse

nurse taking blood from patient

Registered practical nurses are college-taught professionals who use their skills, education, and common sense to assist patients with general or straightforward health conditions. Registered practical nurses (RPNs) commonly work in hospitals, schools, clinics, and the community to provide safe and general care to people of all ages. While they study from the same source of knowledge as registered nurses, an RPN can obtain their diploma faster. 

There are many RPNs working in Ontario. If your condition is stable, predictable, or non-severe, you’ve likely received care from an RPN in the past.

Registered Nurse

nurses taking picture with baby

Like an RPN, a registered nurse has received several years of schooling and has also earned a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing from an Ontario university. Registered nurses (RNs) have extensive knowledge in their field, which allows them to help patients with more complex health issues. Registered nurses provide care in many establishments, such as hospitals, emergency crisis centres and ERs, clinics, etc. Registered nurses may also decide to specialize in a field of their own choosing, however, specialization is voluntary. Common RN specializations include neonatal, gerontology, emergency care, and community health.

Nurse Practitioner

young girl in scrubs

What fundamentally separates a nurse practitioner from RPNs or RNs is the amount of schooling they receive. With advanced university degrees, nurse practitioners (NPs) are able to provide independent healthcare services to patients, such as diagnosing complex health problems and prescribing medicine. Nurse practitioners serve their community in hospitals, schools, pharmacies, rehabilitation centres, and home healthcare agencies, to name a few. An NP is responsible for managing chronic diseases, reducing and controlling pain, performing physical check-ups, and treating fractures and dislocations.

Without the extraordinary work, dedication, and professionalism of Ontario nurses, Closing the Gap would not be able to provide the quality of health services our patients need and deserve. We work with nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, and registered nurses to provide high-quality care to every single one of our clients.

Are you interested in becoming a nurse in Ontario? Find out more about the profession and industry opportunities from these websites:

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