Nursing: Hospitals vs. Private Practices

May 20, 2015

Nursing: Hospitals vs. Private Practices

Most job candidates graduating with a nursing degree know that they want to work in an environment where they might have a direct impact on quality of care. Different health systems demand varying responsibilities from nurses, so it’s important to understand what separates hospitals from private practices. Here are some ways the facilities differ.

Patient interaction.

According to Nursing 360, one of the biggest differences between private practices and hospitals is the nurse-patient working relationship. The majority of privately owned facilities are small, with fewer doctors practicing medicine compared to a hospital. As a result, the number of patients nurses see in a given day at a private practice may be far fewer than hospitals. That’s why medical professionals at private practices can often focus on providing high quality care to a smaller base of patients and get to know them better as individuals. Hospitals may call for longer hours but also may grant more freedom to self-manage when it comes to patient interaction. Hospitals often require more intensive care, as patients are typically admitted for overnight stays to assess their health status. Overall, private practices provide a more relaxed working environment and hospitals provide more drama and action.

Nursing duties.

The American Association of Schools of Nursing explains that nurses make up the largest single component of hospital staff and are the primary providers of care in these facilities. Although doctors might diagnose injuries and conditions more frequently, it’s nurses who administer care and monitor patients. Private practices operate differently, with nurses providing fewer clinical services than they would at hospitals. Much of a nurse’s duties at a private practice pertain to updating medical information on electronic health records and conducting tasks like measuring blood pressure and heart rates.

Clinical experience.

Working in a large hospital can be a rewarding but challenging experience. Hectic schedules that run for long hours can take a toll on nurses, but the experience gained from working in such a facility might have a significant impact on future opportunities, Nursing Degree stated. Taking care of a wider range of illnesses and injuries lets nurses gain valuable experience and insight into healthcare management. With a smaller range of clinical experience, private practices tend to offer greater flexibility in work schedules with shorter shifts and paid holidays. Fewer patients means nurses can deliver individualized attention that’s associated with quality rather than quantity.

Work and home balance.

Depending on how you see it, caring for more patients might be a positive or a negative. The extra work at a hospital could leave you feeling burnt-out sometimes, limiting your energy to spend with family and friends. Private practices might afford better opportunities to balance your work and social life, with more control over scheduling and lighter workloads.

Healthcare can be a rewarding industry, but it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of both environments before applying to open positions. Consider shadowing nurses at either venue to determine which is best suited for you.

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The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ultimate Medical Academy.

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