After you graduate with a nursing degree, you’ll have many decisions to make, but the most important one is your choice of where to work. Do you want to further develop your leadership and management in nursing at a hospital or in private practice? Both career paths are very rewarding and noble, but there are fundamental differences between the two.
In a hospital setting, the life of a nurse is filled with excitement and variety, and the stress that comes with fast-paced hospital care. Working in a private clinic, you will have fewer patients to tend to, and therefore more time to devote to each one. However, nurses in private practice are more vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy and may be subject to shift reductions and salary cuts when their roster of patients dwindles. The life of a nurse in private practice is less hectic and more flexible. He or she is more likely to get the schedule they prefer, often with weekends or holidays off.
Hospital nurses, on the other hand, are always in demand on the job. They can pick up extra shifts in the hospital if they want, and there is much opportunity for promotion. Due to a considerably higher patient-to-provider ratio in a hospital setting, nurses can often earn overtime pay by extending their shifts or being on call. Needless to say, a large hospital provides a nurse with invaluable experience in a wider range of illnesses and injuries.
Here are the pros and cons of working in a hospital to help you plan your career in nursing:
PROS: Working In A Hospital Is Exciting!
- The diversity of ailments, injuries, and patients you treat at a large hospital makes every shift a new adventure.
- Despite the higher hourly wages usually offered by private clinics, hospital nurses actually make more money because of overtime pay, extra shifts, and better benefits packages that a large institution provides.
- You’ll be exposed to many different medical duties and tasks, without having to perform the mundane bookkeeping and clerical tasks often required of a nurse in private practice.
CONS: Working In A Hospital Is Exhausting!
- A hospital setting provides ample opportunity for real life-saving techniques and emergency procedures, but you could get “burned out” by the stress that accompanies a fast-paced hospital environment.
- Emergencies never take a holiday, and you may miss your nephew’s graduation because something came up at work. Like a physician, a hospital nurse must be completely dedicated to his or her work and must be prepared to make sacrifices for the job.
- Keeping up with the fast pace of a busy hospital may keep you on your feet for long periods of time. After a long shift, you’ll feel really tired – but it’s a good kind of tired.
A career in nursing is one of the most rewarding and satisfying life paths you can take, whether in a large hospital or a small clinic. The best way to decide which environment is best for you is to get your feet wet at both places. Go ahead, spend a couple of days in a hospital, and then in a clinic, monitoring the nursing activity and regimen, and talking to the staff. Chances are you’ll find nurses in both settings that absolutely love their jobs and wouldn’t trade them for the world.