Clinic vs Hospital: How to Choose the Best Working Environment
It’s not always easy to determine the working environment that will suit you best. With allied healthcare jobs available in both hospitals and clinics, how do you know where you should start your career? Both have a lot to offer but vary in terms of expectations, requirements, and upward mobility.
Whether you’re just starting out – or simply thinking about attending an allied healthcare certification course – it’s important to educate yourself about what each offers (and demands). You might discover that your perfect future career is literally around the corner.
Hospitals vs. Clinics: What Are the Main Differences?
Hospitals have several departments equipped to treat a wide array of medical issues and admit patients for treatment. They offer a variety of opportunities for clinical work, as well as positions in research, education, and management. Many hospitals assign allied healthcare workers to one specific department where they interact with patients, nurses, and physicians every day.
Because hospitals are open 24 hours a day, they’re more fast-paced than private clinics. If you prefer a job where “anything can happen”, working in a hospital might be a great choice. Professionals who excel in these locations are easily able to find work at other hospitals throughout the country.
Working in an outpatient clinic requires focusing on specific aspects of the medical field (e.g. gynecology, dermatology, chiropractic). These businesses might be run by a primary physician or comprised of multiple doctors, which is known as a “group practice.” With more regular hours and appointments made in advance, clinics offer a more dependable workflow.
Allied health professionals in clinics tend to provide more one-on-one patient care and may even perform tasks that fall outside of their designated duties (e.g. scheduling appointments, managing supplies).
Clinics and hospitals each have their own advantages and disadvantages, but subjectivity plays a massive role. For example, what one person sees as a positive attribute might be considered negative by someone else.
Pros and Cons of Working in a Hospital
- Hospitals often offer higher base salaries than clinics.
- Employment opportunities exist throughout the country, offering great job stability to allied healthcare professionals.
- Overtime is often available.
- Plenty of opportunities to learn a variety of skills, explore different career interests, and work with top-level talent.
- Administrative professionals manage much of the paperwork for you.
- Health insurance options are almost always available to full-time employees.
- Jobs in hospitals tend to come with capped salaries.
- Your schedule could rotate between days, evenings, and overnights.
- Weekend and holiday hours may be required (sometimes at short notice).
- Depending on the department, you may be regularly exposed to uncomfortable and/or depressing situations.
Pros and Cons of Working at a Clinic
- More dependable shifts, with fewer holiday and weekend hours required.
- Work is typically more routine than in a hospital, so you can better predict your duties on any given day.
- It’s common to establish long-term relationships with patients.
- Smaller practices have more of a community feel.
- Pay is typically lower than at hospitals (though you might have more opportunities to negotiate for a higher salary).
- Overtime is more limited at private clinics.
- Allied health professionals tend to complete more paperwork than at hospitals.
- A predictable routine can become boring for some.
Working in a Clinic vs. Hospital: Which Is Best for You?
If you’re a new high school graduate or fresh out of an allied healthcare certificate program, it might be wise to apply to a hospital job to gain more diverse experience and exposure. If you’re already passionate about a certain specialty, outpatient clinics could be the perfect place for you.
Regardless of where you see yourself, hospitals and clinics desire the same things: passion, ambition, and professionalism.
Which Type of Environment Is Best?
If you prefer a more laidback workplace that emphasizes patient care, a clinic is probably a better choice. The same goes for someone who hopes to avoid hospice situations.
If you’re looking for a bustling working environment with an ever-changing array of situations, a hospital might be a great fit.
To help you make an educated decision, why not ask some local healthcare professionals about their favorite elements of their jobs? What would they most like to change?
How Will Your Job Affect Your Family and Personal Life?
Don’t have kids now? Working a night shift at a hospital might be ideal for your schedule, but parents with school-aged children might prefer a clinic setting. It’s okay to change your mind, but changing a hospital work schedule could be fairly difficult.
Join an Allied Healthcare Certification Course Today
Have experience working in a clinic or hospital? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
If you’re considering an allied health career – and are currently in the New Jersey area – get the ball rolling by contacting an AIMS representative today.