Hospital Job vs. Clinic Job: How to Choose the Best Work Environment
It’s not always easy to determine which working environment will be the best fit for you. And with allied healthcare jobs available in both hospitals and clinics, the decision about where to start your career is a crucial one.
Some of today’s most well-known healthcare practitioners have built their careers in hospitals, while others have become highly regarded while working in clinics. 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, take some time to educate yourself about the differences in these locations. Who knows? You might discover that your perfect future career is right around the corner.
What Are the Basic Differences Between Hospitals and Clinics?
Hospitals have several departments that are equipped to treat a wide array of medical issues and admit patients for treatment. These businesses offer many different 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.
Because they’re open 24 hours a day and admitting patients of various conditions, hospitals (especially in cities) are more fast-paced working environments than private clinics. If you prefer a job where “anything can happen”, 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.
Clinics are “outpatient” medical locations, and they tend to focus on specific aspects of the medical field (e.g. gynecology, dermatology, chiropractic). They might be run by a primary physician or comprised of multiple doctors, otherwise known as a “group practice”. Because they tend to have more regular hours and patients usually make appointments, clinics offer a more dependable workflow.
Allied healthcare professionals in clinics may provide more one-on-one patient care, and might even perform tasks that fall outside of their designated duties (e.g. scheduling appointments, managing supplies). Regardless of where you work, professionals with a reliable and wide range of skill sets are extremely enticing to both prospective clinic and hospital HR departments.
Pros and Cons of Working at Hospitals and Clinics
Clinics and hospitals each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so we’ve compiled a general list for each setting. Be aware that subjectivity plays a massive role. For example, what one person sees as a positive attribute might be considered negative by someone else.
Pros of Working at a Hospital:
- Hospitals often offer higher base salaries than clinics.
- Plenty of employment opportunities exist throughout the country, offering great job stability to allied healthcare professionals.
- Overtime is often available for most roles.
- Hospitals provide exciting 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.
Cons of Working at a Hospital:
- Salaries tend to come with caps.
- Your schedule could involve rotating between days, evenings, and overnights.
- Weekend and holiday hours may be required (sometimes at short notice).
- Depending on your department, you may be regularly exposed to uncomfortable and/or depressing situations.
Pros of Working at a Clinic:
- More dependable shifts, with fewer holiday and weekend hours required.
- Work here 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.
Cons of Working at a Clinic:
- 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 may spend more time with paperwork tasks than at hospitals.
- A predictable routine can become boring for some.
How Do You Choose the Best Work Place?
If you’re right out of school or an allied healthcare certificate program, it might be wise to apply to a hospital job to gain more diverse experience and exposure. If you already have the passion for a certain specialty, working in a private clinic that provides particular services may be the perfect place for you. Most hospital HR departments and clinics desire the same things: passion, ambition, and professionalism. So really, it comes down to where you see yourself.
Which Type of Environment Will Be Most Comfortable?
If you prefer a more laid back, affable workplace that emphasizes patient care, a clinic might be a great choice. The same goes for someone who hopes to avoid hospice situations. If you prefer a bustling working environment that provides an ever-changing array of conditions and situations, a hospital might be an excellent fit.
A great method for helping you make your decision is to ask some local healthcare professionals about their favorite elements of their jobs, and what they’d most like to change.
How Will Your Job Affect Your Family and Personal Life?
Working a night shift at a hospital might be ideal for your schedule if you don’t have kids now, but a clinic setting will likely be an appealing choice if you’ve got children in school full-time. It’s okay to change your mind, but changing a hospital work schedule may present a few extra hurdles.
By assessing your specific needs, interests, and goals – and determining which setting is the best fit based on these criteria – you’ll be much more likely to attain satisfaction early in your career.
Gain Insight and Skills in Your Allied Healthcare Certification Course
If you’ve worked in a clinic or held hospital jobs, what has your experience been like? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Otherwise, if you’re currently considering a career in exciting fields like surgical technology or diagnostic medical sonography, get the ball rolling by contacting an AIMS representative today.