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General Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Nurses play an important role in the medical field by providing care to patients. There are different types of nurses, each with their own set of responsibilities. General nurses and registered nurses are two common types of nurses. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between general nurses and registered nurses, and we provide information on other types of nurses you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a General Nurse?

A General Nurse is a professional who provides direct patient care in a variety of settings. They work in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities. General Nurses assess patients’ health, provide treatments and therapies, and educate patients and their families about their conditions. They also develop care plans, coordinate with other healthcare professionals, and keep patients’ medical records up to date. General Nurses must be licensed in the state where they practice.

What is a Registered Nurse?

Registered Nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. RNs can specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics, or oncology. They work in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities. RNs use a variety of medical equipment and technologies to treat and care for patients, including intravenous (IV) lines, blood transfusion machines, and dialysis machines.

General Nurse vs. Registered Nurse

Here are the main differences between a general nurse and a registered nurse.

Job Duties

General nurses focus on the physical care of patients, which involves taking vital signs, recording medical information and assisting doctors with procedures. They also oversee patient hygiene and nutrition. In comparison, registered nurses have more clinical responsibilities, such as administering medication and providing emotional support to patients.

The daily duties of a general nurse may include waking patients up, helping them bathe and feeding them breakfast. A registered nurse might spend most of their workday in a clinic or hospital room, monitoring patients’ heart rates, blood pressure and oxygen levels. General nurses might provide support to patients and families by explaining treatment plans and offering transportation assistance.

Job Requirements

A registered nurse (RN) is a type of nurse who must have completed an accredited nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). To become an RN, you must first earn a diploma or associate degree in nursing from an accredited institution. These programs typically take two to three years to complete. Alternatively, you could pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which would take four years to finish. Once you have earned your degree, you can then apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

A general nurse does not need to hold a specific license or certification, but they may still need to complete an accredited nursing program. These programs typically take two to three years to complete. Alternatively, you could pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which would take four years to finish. After completing a nursing program, general nurses can begin working in the field. However, they may not be able to work in all settings or perform all duties unless they obtain additional certification.

Work Environment

General nurses and registered nurses work in a variety of environments. General nurses may work in hospitals, nursing homes or other medical facilities. They also may work as traveling nurses, which means they travel to different locations to provide care for patients. Registered nurses typically work in hospitals, but some work in outpatient clinics or private practices.


Both general nurses and registered nurses use critical thinking skills to assess patients’ symptoms and make decisions about their care. They also need to have excellent communication skills to relay information to patients and their families, as well as other members of the healthcare team.

General nurses typically provide basic patient care, such as taking vital signs, administering medication and dressings, and providing emotional support. Registered nurses usually have more responsibilities, such as conducting patient assessments, developing care plans, supervising other nurses and providing education to patients and their families.

Registered nurses benefit from having strong organizational skills to keep track of their patients’ medical records and coordinate their care. They also need to be able to multitask effectively to manage their patients’ needs while also completing paperwork and documentation. General nurses may not need to be as organized or efficient in their work, as they typically have fewer patients to care for.


The average salary for a general nurse is $68,683 per year, while the average salary for a registered nurse is $77,033 per year. The average salary for a general nurse may vary depending on the type of facility in which they work, their level of experience and their location.


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