It can be difficult to know where the right job for you lies. Clinic and hospital positions can vary vastly but knowing the differences, and matching those differences to your own personal preference, can be the key to finding your perfect work environment. We are here to break down the ultimate battle of clinic versus hospital.

While medical clinics and hospitals vary in the way they run, it is not uncommon for potential applicants to have a difficult time deciding where they want to work. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two nursing jobs is the first step in making a decision.  Most professionals on the subject agree there are major differences. However, both paths have opportunities that will lead to a successful career in the healthcare profession.

Jobs in the nursing field vary in pace and hours, with over a 100 different specialities, RNs can find a job that seamlessly fits their busy schedule and salary demands.  According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, about 61% of nurses work in hospitals. Traditionally, hospitals will pay higher wages, but these higher wages come with a less predictable day because patients admitted to a hospital need around the clock care. Some RNs enjoy this because they can work longer shifts and have more full days off. Working at a hospital tends to move at a faster pace, especially in Emergency departments where patients need quick care, and are suffering from a wide range of problems. In a clinic, you can expect slightly lower wages as a trade off for a slightly more predictable and routine daily schedule. Some nurses enjoy working a more traditional 9-5 schedule.  It is best to look at your own schedule and work process and decide if a faster hospital pace or slower more routine pace suits you best.

Hours differ between clinics and hospitals. Similar to the schedules you should expect, a nurse working in a clinic can expect a more “normal” schedule, but often even clinic nurses work weekends or early/ late hours. Because hospital patients are much less predictable than the ones in a clinic, RNs at a hospital can work a variety of different schedules.

Finally, and possibly most important to some, the kind of patient relationship you can expect in both of these environments differs. Each person is different in what they want this relationship to look like. In clinics, you can often see a patient month to month, thus forming lasting relationships. You can also see a patient make steady progress, since you see the patient more often. In hospitals, you are exposed to a variety of different patients, and everyday’s a new, challenging, and rewarding experience.

As you consider which of these paths you want to take, think about what kind of person you are and what you expect of your career environment. In both a clinic and a hospital you will be able to help people heal and improve patients’ lives.  No decision is the wrong decision; just make sure to pick a facility that fits best for you as an RN.

Originally posted on 2/3/2016

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