Difference Between Medical Diagnosis and Nursing Diagnosis?

Healthcare Courses

In this blog, we will discuss medical and nursing diagnoses, and understand how these are two distinct procedures in the healthcare industry.

Jul 1
Dr Sandip Patel
Founder & CEO, Docthub

Difference Between Medical Diagnosis and Nursing Diagnosis


Overview of Medical and Nursing Diagnoses 

We all know, that diagnoses play a crucial role in the healthcare industry and here we will discuss in detail the two types of diagnoses, medical and nursing diagnoses. 

Medical Diagnoses

This type of diagnosis uses medical tests or procedures to understand a patient’s health. It also takes into account the patient’s symptoms, signs, and medical history to diagnose the disease of the patient. The prime objective of this procedure is to get a detailed overview of the patient’s medical health condition and its underlying causes.  

Nursing Diagnoses

This type of diagnosis involves a holistic approach toward patient care to understand the patient’s overall health. This is mostly a non-invasive method where nurses are trained on how to evaluate patients’ psychological, social, physical, and environmental aspects, to get an understanding of patients’ overall health. The main objective of this diagnosis is to provide comprehensive healthcare support to patients after understanding their current health condition. 


Importance of Medical and Nursing Diagnoses

Precision in Treatment - Medical diagnoses help in targeted treatment strategies specific to the identified medical condition patients, leading to better and effective patient care.

Better Patient Care Approach - Nursing diagnoses focus on the patient's response to illness and then doing everything required to make the patient healthy.

Collaborated Diagnoses - Both medical and nursing diagnoses professionals collaborate among themselves ensuring that all aspects of a patient's health are taken into consideration. Improved Patient Safety -  Implementing both diagnosis methods gives accurate status of a patient’s body is crucial for patient safety, reducing the risk of errors and effective patient care. 

High-quality Patient Care - These diagnosis methods contribute to the overall quality of patient care by ensuring current treatment to the patients by the healthcare professionals in response to the patient's health needs.

Proper Healthcare Planning - Collaborated diagnoses help to understand about patient’s health faster and keep the healthcare professionals informed, ensuring proper planning and treatments are available when needed.


More About Medical and Nursing Diagnoses

In this section, we will discuss the purpose and the steps of performing both medical diagnoses and nursing diagnoses on patients. 

Purpose of medical diagnoses

Detecting Diseases - To detect diseases or medical conditions affecting patients.

Guide Treatment - Helping to take in an informed selection of appropriate medical treatments and interventions.

Patient Monitoring - To track the course of a disease over time and check the effectiveness of treatment in patients.

Better Communication - Continuous patient monitoring helps to communicate better among healthcare professionals regarding patient conditions and care strategies.

Research and Development - To enable the collection of data for clinical research and the development of new treatments and care strategies.

Educating Patients - To help patients understand their health conditions and the reasons behind prescribed treatments.

Public Health Reporting - To contribute to public health data, which is used for tracking and managing health trends and epidemics.

Steps of Performing a Medical Diagnosis 

The following points can help us understand the general outline of performing a medical diagnosis: 

1. Gather Patient History - Gather every information available about the patient's medical history, including past illnesses, surgeries, family history, and current medications.

2. Symptom Assessment - Ask detailed questions about the patient's symptoms, including:

“the time when they started feeling unwell?”, “duration of the health issue”, “factors that stimulated the health condition”, etc. 

3. Physical Examination - Conduct a thorough physical examination to check for any visible signs of illness or abnormalities in the patient’s body.

4. Differential Diagnosis - Create a list of potential diagnoses based on the patient's health history and physical examination findings.

5. Diagnostic Testing - Performing diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, imaging studies, or other specialized tests to gather more information about the patient's health condition.

6. Analyze Test Results - Analyze the results of diagnostic tests in conjunction with the patient's history and physical exam findings.

7. Final Diagnosis - Perform a final diagnosis after considering all the information of past test results.

8. Treatment Plan - Develop a treatment plan with respect to the patient's specific diagnosis and overall health status.

9. Communication - Discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan with the patient, ensuring they understand their condition and the proposed health management strategy.

10. Follow-Up - Schedule proper follow-up appointments to monitor the patient's progress and adjust the treatment plan as necessary.


Purpose of Nursing Diagnoses

Understanding Patient Needs - To evaluate the individual needs of patients, which may not be addressed by medical diagnoses alone.

Planning Patient Care - To develop personalized nursing care plans that address the specific responses of patients to their health conditions.

Improving Patient Outcomes - To set goals for patient health and recovery, and to measure the progress in patient’s health with time. 

Enhancing Patient Safety -To identify potential health risks or complications early during the medical treatment, and allow much time for interventions to prevent any fatal harm.

Promoting Patient Autonomy - To empower patients by involving them in their own care and encouraging self-care practices.

Facilitating Communication - To provide clear and structured communication among the nursing team and other healthcare professionals.

Documenting Nursing Care - To accurately record the nursing care provided and the patient's response to that care.

Steps of Performing a Nursing Diagnosis

The following points can help us understand the general outline of performing a nursing diagnosis: 

1. Data Collection and  Assessment - Collect comprehensive data about the patient's health status, including information from the patient's point of view and the data observed by healthcare workers. 

2. Proper Diagnosis - Analyze the data collected during the assessment to make an expert decision about potential or actual health problems of patients. 

3. Planning Patient Care - Develop an action plan outlining the nursing interventions required to address diagnoses of patients. 

4. Plan Implementation - Carry out the patient care interventions diligently as outlined in the patient care management action plan.

5. Continuous Evaluation - Keep monitoring the effectiveness of the patient care interventions and adjust the patient care plan as necessary based on the patient's response.


Key Differences & Similarities of Medical and Nursing Diagnosis

Medical and nursing diagnoses are both essential practices in patient care, but there are some differences and similarities between medical and nursing diagnoses:



 Focus of Diagnosis - Medical diagnoses focus on identifying diseases or medical conditions based on pathology. Whereas, nursing diagnoses focus on the patient's response to health problems, including their physical, psychological, and social needs.

Purpose - The purpose of a medical diagnosis is to determine the specific illness or disease affecting the patient. Whereas,  nursing diagnosis aims to identify potential or actual responses of the patient to health issues and to form the basis of the nursing care plan.

Professionals Involved - Medical diagnoses are performed by physicians, while nursing diagnoses are performed by nurses. 

Outcome - The outcome of a medical diagnosis typically leads to a treatment plan for the disease, whereas the outcome of a nursing diagnosis leads to a plan of care to address the patient's responses to illness or treatment regarding the same. 



• Patient-Centered Approach - Both types of diagnoses are patient-centered and aim to improve the patient's overall health status.

• Evidence-Based Procedure - They both rely on evidence gathered from patient history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

• Continuous Upgradation - Both are dynamic processes that can change as new information becomes available or as the patient's health gets better. 

• Works Collectively - They often require collaboration between nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive patient care.


List of Some Colleges offering Medical and Nursing Diagnosis

Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara University, Dharwad

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)


Shri Balaji Institute of Nursing, RaipurB.Sc. NursingClick
Geetanjali Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), UdaipurMBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)Click
Ambika College of Nursing, BengaluruB.Sc. NursingClick
RI Group of Paramedical Science, BhiwandiMBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)Click


Job Roles and Salary in Medical and Nursing Diagnosis 

Job RolesAverage Salary
Medical Laboratory Technician₹3.5 - 6.5 Lakhs/year
Pathologist₹8 - 14 Lakhs/year
Medical Technologist₹2.5 - 6 Lakhs/year
Registered Nurse ₹2.5 - 4.5 Lakhs/year
Clinical Nurse Specialist₹6 - 12 Lakhs/year
Nursing Care Plan Coordinator₹2.4 - 7 Lakhs/year


Docthub can help you find a medical or nursing diagnosis course to enroll in and start a career of your dreams.



1 What is the difference between nursing diagnoses and medical diagnoses?

The basic difference between nursing diagnoses and medical diagnoses is that medical diagnoses detect diseases or medical conditions affecting patients, whereas nursing diagnoses focus on gathering information available about the patient's medical history, including past illnesses, surgeries, family history, and current medications.


2. What is an example of a nursing diagnosis and a medical diagnosis?

Examples of nursing diagnosis:

  • Risk For Disturbed Sleeping Pattern
  • Impaired Emancipated Decision-Making
  • Risk For Impaired Skin Integrity
  • Risk For Metabolic Imbalance Syndrome

Examples of medical diagnosis:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease


3 How nursing diagnoses mostly different from medical diagnoses?

Both nursing and medical diagnoses differ in many ways. In this blog, we have covered all the topics related to the differences or dissimilarities of the diagnosis process. Read the blog to know more.  


4 Are nursing diagnoses less important than medical diagnoses?

Both medical and nursing diagnoses are equally important and they have their similarities too. To know more read the blog. 


5 What is the main difference between nursing diagnosis and medical diagnosis? 

The main difference between nursing diagnosis and medical diagnosis is the steps followed to perform the treatment. All the key differences between nursing diagnosis and medical are discussed in the blog. Read the blog to know more.