Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: What’s the difference? Full Details

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The medical field can be confusing regarding understanding the differences between staff nurses and registered nurses. Staff nurses, also called licensed practical nurses, work in different places like hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Registered nurses, on the other hand, work in more specialized healthcare settings and provide more complex care.

Apr 18
Dr Mohit Changani
AGM Medical Services at Cadila Pharmaceuticals
Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: What’s the difference? Full Details of 2023

In this blog, we will discuss the differences between staff and registered nurses, including their roles and skills, education qualifications, and salary prospects. 


Staff Nurse:

Staff nurses work in different healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. They provide hands-on patient care, including giving medication, tracking vital signs, and offering emotional support. Staff Nurses create and follow patient care plans; work with other healthcare team members, and teach patients and their families about their health conditions and treatment options. Sometimes, they may also oversee other nurses and support staff. 


Registered Nurse:

Registered Nurses (RNs) provide patient care, education, and support. They do this for different health conditions and for the public. They also help patients and their families. RNs can specialize in a specific area of nursing, like pediatric, geriatric, or oncology nursing. They typically work in hospitals, but they can also work in clinics, private practices, or home healthcare settings. RNs use various equipment, including syringes, IVs, and thermometers to care for patients. They also maintain detailed records of patients’ medical histories and treatments. 


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Key Differences

Both staff nurses and registered nurses (RNs) are healthcare professionals who take care of patients. Despite this, there are some significant differences between the two roles:  


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Education Background

To become a staff nurse, you need to complete a two-year associate degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your registered nursing certification. 

However, registered nurses (RNs) often seek higher education than an associate degree, like a four-year bachelor's degree and a two-year master's degree in nursing (MSN)., ‌ to acquire supervisory skills for advanced nursing positions. This further education takes more time and money than becoming a staff nurse.


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Job Roles

There are two main roles in nursing: Staff Nurse and Registered Nurse (RN). Both require caring for patients, but the duties are different.

Staff nurses provide basic care such as giving medication, tracking vital signs, and helping with daily activities. They help doctors during exams and procedures. Staff nurses work in hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

Registered nurses (RNs) have more responsibility. They manage care plans, educate patients, and provide emotional support. RNs also supervise staff nurses and other healthcare workers. They work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare settings. RNs create treatment plans, make patient education materials, and delegate tasks. They also order tests and medication and provide counseling services. 


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Job Area

Staff nurses usually work in hospitals, nursing homes, medical facilities, or private companies providing patient care at home. 

In contrast, registered nurses primarily work in hospitals, but they can also work in doctor's offices, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric institutions, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare settings.


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Skills

A staff nurse is a healthcare professional who provides direct care to patients in various settings, like hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Their responsibilities include assessing, planning, and implementing nursing care that suits the patient’s needs. They work with other healthcare professionals to provide optimal care to their patients. 

Staff nurses also perform various duties, including checking vital signs, administering medication, wound care, and providing holistic patient care. They educate patients and their families about maintaining good health. 

A registered nurse (RN) is a professional who has completed an accredited nursing program and passed a national exam. They have a wider scope of practice and can provide advanced care compared to a staff nurse. 

RNs may specialize in a specific area of healthcare, like geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, or psychiatry. They often work in leadership roles, such as nurse supervisors or educators. Additionally, RNs work as case mangers and clinical researchers top provide quality healthcare. 


Staff Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: Salary Prospects

Staff nurses and registered nurses (RNs) have different salary prospects based on their education, experience, and job responsibilities. 

Generally, staff nurses earn an average salary of around INR 3-4 lakhs per year. However, this can vary depending on location, employer, and experience level. Staff nurses may also receive additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

On the other hand, registered nurses in India have higher salary prospects than staff nurses due to their advanced education and a broader scope of practice. The average salary for an RN in India is around INR 6-7 lakhs per year, although this can vary based on experience and specialty. RNs in supervisory or management roles may earn even higher salaries.

Overall, both staff nurses and RNs play critical roles in providing healthcare services in India, and their salaries reflect their unique job responsibilities and qualifications. 


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1. What is the qualification for a staff nurse?

The qualifications for staff nurses typically include a nursing diploma or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).


2. Who is a staff nurse?

A nursing staff is a non-supervising nurse who provides routine healthcare to patients in healthcare facilities. 


3. What is the salary of a staff nurse in India?

The salary of a Staff Nurse with less than 1 year of experience to 7 years ranges from ₹ 0.2 Lakhs to ₹ 4 Lakhs in India. 


4. Is a staff nurse a good job?

Staff nursing can be a fulfilling and rewarding career for those passionate about helping others and providing healthcare services, offering job stability, opportunities for advancement, and the satisfaction of positively impacting people's lives.


5. Does nursing offer a good career salary?

Nursing can offer a good career salary, with the potential for higher earnings depending on factors such as education, experience, and specialty, and the demand for qualified nurses is high.