Healthcare Jobs: Should You Work for a Private Practice or Hospital?
Healthcare workers are in great demand, and as the number of available jobs increases, so too does the number of options available to those with the training and skills that are required in the field. This means that many healthcare professionals are faced with a choice between working in a private practice, or in a hospital setting. There are pros and cons to both work environments, and they should all be considered when making the choice between the two. Read ahead to decide which option is the best for you:
Generally, private practices offer workers a greater level of autonomy and increased responsibility. A hospital environment relies more heavily upon teamwork, which leads to a wider dispersal of responsibility. If you’re the type of person who likes to work in a team, a hospital might feel like a more comfortable environment. If, instead, you like the idea of owning a wider range of responsibilities, a private practice might do a better job of fulfilling that desire. Again, this will depend on your field of expertise, but generally, hospitals tend to follow a team format while private practices are smaller, and give more responsibility to individuals.
Private practices will typically offer more traditional work hours than hospitals. A hospital may require longer, more nontraditional hours. This is, of course, is not cut-and-dry – depending upon the needs of the company, you may be required to work long, nontraditional hours for a private practice, and you also may be offered a traditional ‘workday’ shift while employed at a hospital. When deciding between a private practice or hospital, consider the types of hours you will be working. At some hospitals, you will have to work a graveyard shift for a few months, or even years until you have been around for a while and get more of a say when it comes to your schedule. Both hospitals and private practices may give you a chance for flexibility with schedule, but you’re more likely to have irregular hours if you work for a hospital.
In a hospital setting, approvals, payroll, legal issues, and other administrative duties are taken care of by the hospital, so physicians don’t have to stress about any of this. For those opening a private practice, administrative responsibilities will fall into the owner’s hands. This can be convenient because it gives the owner more freedom—they don’t have to answer to a hospital board. On the other hand, when something goes wrong, the owner has to take care of it, they don’t have the luxury of passing problems off to hospital administration. Power is divided differently in hospitals than it is for private practices, but as you can see, there are pros and cons to owning your own practice, as opposed to relying on hospital administration.
Hospitals can be very large, crowded affairs, while private practices are often much smaller and quieter. That said, working the night shift in a hospital with a 24-hour cafeteria and coffee shop is often preferable to working late at a private practice, where a break room and a microwave might be your only option. Since you will spend 40 (or more) hours a week at your job, you want to make sure you are comfortable in your work environment. If you’re looking for a healthcare job that allows you to practice on a smaller, calmer scale, private practice is probably the way to go for you. If you thrive on the bustle and fast-paced environment a hospital offers, that may be your best choice.
These pros and cons are just the general reflections of a field that employs a wide range people in all sorts of work, and your individual specialization will play a role in the expectations that your employer will have for you. It is important to do research and ask questions about a hospital or private practice before you decide whether to work there or not. Find out if they use popular healthcare models, how well they pay employees, and what types of benefits are offered with the position. Having all the available information about a hospital and private practice will make it easier for you to decide where to work. Try to visualize your working life in the places where you’re considering employment, or better, talk to people who are already working in them. The better picture you have of the environment in which you’ll be working, the better you can determine whether or not that environment is suited to your own needs.