Is Caregiving Part of Nursing: Understanding the Difference

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Is caregiver part of nursing?

Are you thinking of employing a caregiver to look after an elderly or disabled person at your home?

Do you think the caregiver can provide medical treatment and respond to emergency situations or carry out each task that a nurse is expected to do in a healthcare profession?

So, whether you are looking for a career in a related field or simply wish to end the curiosity, this article is all you need right now as this blog will discuss in detail “Is caregiving part of nursing?” and shed light on the possibilities as well as the uniqueness between the two roles.

Let’s get started!

Caregiving and Nursing Distinctions:

  • Job Responsibilities:
    • A nurse usually performs several medical duties for the care recipient and looks after patients who are in dire need of care whereas a caregiver assists a person with basic daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, buying groceries etc. involving no medical duties.
    • A nurse outperforms a caregiver in a way that it performs both; a caregiver as well as a nurse’s duty. Whereas a caregiver, as mentioned earlier, can only provide physical, emotional, and psychological help to the person they are looking after.
  • Training and Education:
    • A nurse needs to undergo formal education and attend a nursing school. Whereas a caregiver requires around 45 hours of training in order to get aware of the safety protocols. 
  • Education:
    • Nurses are expected to work in hospitals, clinics, medical centers, and medical camps, whereas a caregiver usually works at the client’s residence.

 Roles and Responsibilities of a Nurse:

  1. Administering medicines
  2. Monitoring patient’s health and responses
  3. Collaborating with senior professionals
  4. Noting down a patient’s vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature etc.
  5. Maintaining medical records

Roles and Responsibilities of a Caregiver:

  1. Bathing, grooming, dressing and feeding the client 
  2. Help the care recipient with physical mobility
  3. Monitoring the client’s health status
  4. Scheduling appointments with the doctor 
  5. House chores such as home cleaning, preparing meals or buying groceries 

Essential Skills of a Caregiver:

  1. Ability to understand client’s needs
  2. Show empathy to the client
  3. Handling care recipient’s behavior, which may get challenging at times, patiently.
  4. Attentive to client’s condition 
  5. Caregivers should have the basic and essential medical knowledge to ensure the client’s well-being.

Essential Skills for Nurses:

  1. Proficiency in medical treatment
  2. Administering medications
  3. Ability to carefully analyze patient’s health condition and make quick decisions
  4. Identifying healthcare problems and providing an effective solution for it
  5. Skills to effectively manage tasks simultaneously 

Qualities of a Caregiver:

  1. Flexible 
  2. Compassion
  3. Active listener
  4. Resilience
  5. Reliability and honesty

Qualities of a Nurse:

  1. Attentive to details
  2. Empathy
  3. Competency 
  4. Professionalism
  5. Leadership Ability

Education Requirement for a Caregiver:

To work as a caregiver, it is not mandatory to hold a degree. However, there are training programs that he/she should opt for in order to gain basic knowledge about the role. 

These training programs are all about the following listed topics:

  • Training on basic tasks such as how to assist the care recipient with personal care or home chores.
  • Training on how to effectively and empathetically communicate with the person they are responsible for in order to build a good relationship with the client.
  • Guidance on how to handle challenging behavior of clients or any other critical situation with patience.
  • Training to inform the caregiver about the legal and ethical regulations.

Note: It is highly recommended to opt for on-the-job training in order to apply theoretical knowledge practically which ultimately sharpens the caregiver’s skills

Education Requirement for a Nurse:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): This training program provides guidance and knowledge on basic patient care roles that are usually required in clinics or hospitals, such as taking blood pressure or injecting a medicine, etc.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): This is a year long certification that provides training from basic to more complex roles of a nurse.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): The bachelor’s, which is a four year long degree program, offers deep theoretical knowledge to students who want to become a nurse in the future. 
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): This is a two year long degree that is more advanced than a typical bachelors and helps nursing students level up their career by providing an opportunity to specialize within the nursing field.

Scope of practice for caregivers:

The scope of practice for caregivers include:

  • Personal Care: Caregivers are expected to assist the care recipient with their daily personal care tasks such as bathing, grooming, personal hygiene etc. 
  • Companionship: Caregivers aim to build friendly relations with the person they are responsible for by making them feel heard, showing empathy, and by spending time with them.
  • House Management: Caregivers provide care recipient household assistance by doing various home chores including groceries, preparing meals, setting the table etc. 

Comparing with Nurse’s Scope of Practice:

A nurse’s scope of practice differs from that of a caregiver considering that a nurse not only performs their duties but those of a caregiver as well.

Some common scope of practice for a nurse include:

  • Administering medications and medical treatment
  • Monitoring the patient’s health condition and carefully observe for how a patient responses to the prescribed treatment
  • Making care plans for the patient
  • Provide necessary guidance to patient or their family members about the health condition or dosage

Caregiving Role in Nursing:

Caregiver duties within nursing include:

  • Caregivers serve as a communication bridge between nurses and patients.  Oftentimes, a nurse may need to communicate with the caregiver regarding the patient’s health condition and their response to the dosage prescribed by the physician.
  • When the caregiver is present with the patient the nurse has less duties to perform and they only focus on the medical treatment such as injecting the medicine rather than looking after the patient and observing their response to medications or other signs.
  • Caregivers also help the patient communicate their health condition more effectively than the patient her or himself would have done which helps the nurse in overall assessment of patient’s health.

Such caregiver involvement in nursing care is highly crucial as well as effective for the following reasons

  • This combined effort helps the patient address their condition more effectively and get better treatment in accordance with the condition.
  • By working together caregivers and nurses both are able to use the skills and specialization which results in effective resource utilization.
  • Such collaborative work provides at most satisfaction to the patient that the treatment is being done right.

Challenges and Solutions:

  • Challenge: The language or cultural value might lead to ineffective communication

Solution: A detailed training session on cultural sensitivity can help to reduce the communication gap and help the caregiver or nurse to build a healthy relationship with the care recipient.

  • Challenge: Caring and nursing duties can sometimes little burnout or stress due to the challenging behavior of the patient   

Solution:  take out time to practice self-care or attend mental health support programs in order to improve your emotional well-being and reduce the emotional fatigue

  • Challenge: Insufficient resources may prevent optimum care delivery

Solution: The caregiver or nurse must advocate for the patient to the agency or healthcare setting and ask for more resources and technology to deliver optimal care to the patient


In conclusion, the two roles, caregiving and nursing, play a highly crucial role in improvising the life of a person going through chronic illness or other illness. In fact, when the nurses and caregivers collaboratively work together they are able to deliver optimal care to the patient resulting in a more satisfied patient.

Therefore, it is clarified that while a caregiver is not a part of nursing, the two individuals can work together to provide a more holistic approach for patient treatment and while a nurse can perform some of the duties of a caregiver in a healthcare setting, a caregiver cannot perform the medical treatment to the care recipient.

I hope this article answered your question “Is caregiving a part of nursing?”

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is caregiver considered a healthcare profession?

No, caregiving is not considered as a healthcare profession because it does not include any sort of medical treatment. Instead, it is limited to providing only physical, emotional, and psychological help to the patient.

Can a caregiver perform nursing duties?

No, caregivers are only trained to provide personal care, household management and companionship to the care recipient. Therefore, they cannot perform nursing duties such as medical treatment which are relatively more complex.

What are the educational requirements for becoming a nurse?

A nurse has to undergo formal education which may include certification, bachelor’s or a masters degree in nursing.

Are caregivers trained to handle medical emergencies?

Caregivers only know how to handle basic medical conditions such as fever or high blood pressure. However, they might not know how to respond in an emergency situation.

How do caregivers and nurses communicate and collaborate?

Caregivers and nurses work collectively by staying in contact regarding the patient’s health or their response to medication.

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