What is the Difference Between an MD and NP?

What is the Difference between an MD and NP?

When it comes to your health care, you may be wondering what kind of practitioner would be best for your needs: an MD or NP? There are some differences between the two that are important to understand before making your choice.

‘MD’ stands for ‘medical doctor’ or ‘doctor of medicine’, and ‘NP’ stands for ‘nurse practitioner’. Both are often present in hospitals and clinics working together to provide routine and urgent care to their patients. 

Level of Education

The primary difference between an MD and NP is the level of their education. To become an MD, an individual must earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of education (such as pre-med or biology), graduate from medical school, and complete a residency program at a healthcare facility. In total, this typically takes an average of 11 years of postsecondary education. 

NPs have different education requirements. They must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing followed by a graduate nursing certification (such as an MSN or a DNP). On average, this takes six to eight years of postsecondary education. 

Range of Responsibilities

MDs and NPs often have overlapping responsibilities and work together as a team. However, there are a few duties done solely by one or the other. 

For the most part, MDs are responsible for diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries, ordering tests and examinations, reviewing test results, and designing, recommending, and prescribing treatment plans. NPs are primarily responsible for performing tests and exams, diagnosing acute and chronic conditions, and managing a patient’s overall care.

MDs and NPs have some duties that they share as well, such as maintaining patient records, prescribing medication and treatments, and educating patients and their loved ones on medical-related questions, concerns, and lifestyle choices. 

Please bear in mind that this is a general overview and that responsibilities may vary. 

How is an RN Different from an NP?

Many people also wonder what the difference is between an RN and an NP. RN stands for ‘registered nurse’ and they complete, at a minimum, two years less training than an NP.  While their responsibilities are similar in many respects, RNs cannot prescribe medication or diagnose health conditions. 

What is the Difference Between a Doula and a Midwife?

Are you preparing for childbirth and have heard the words ‘midwife’ and ‘doula’ mentioned but aren’t sure what the differences are between the two? A midwife is a healthcare professional trained and qualified to deliver babies. 

Midwives provide safe, natural birthing options, and they are also trained to recognize high-risk patients who may need additional health care and support. Midwives can also perform gynecological exams, prescribe medications, offer family planning options, and more. 

Doulas are a kind of ‘cheerleader’ for the mother. While they are not required to have any formal training, they often receive a doula certification. Their primary objective is to provide the mother with emotional, physical, and informational resources and support throughout the pregnancy and childbirth experience. 

Our Expert, All-Female Practitioners

Every expectant mother has her own ideas about how she envisions her birth experience. Our all-female team of practitioners strive to make your birthing experience as safe and rewarding as possible. We care that your baby’s birth aligns with your own priorities. 

We offer you a variety of experts, including MDs, WHNPs (women’s health nurse practitioners), and an FNP (family nurse practitioner) in a single office so we can care for the many aspects of obstetrics and gynecology for our clients. 

Are you looking for an OB/Gyn in the Tucson area? Book an appointment today!



  1. https://www.nursepractitionerschools.com/faq/np-vs-doctor/
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/doula_vs_midwife/article.htm#what_is_a_midwife_can_a_midwife_deliver_a_baby
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/doula-vs-midwife#doula