The Big Decision – Is It Better To Work In A Small Or A Large Hospital?

January 27, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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If you’ve recently graduated from nursing school and have made up your mind to work in a hospital setting, one of the things you need to think about is the environment at the facility and whether you will be able fit into that particular culture. You have to decide whether you’d prefer to work in a certain position at a large teaching hospital or whether you would be comfortable at a smaller community hospital. While some med students may have a clear cut, definite preference for one or the other, other med students may be undecided as to what would be more suitable.

If you are undecided, begin by making a list of all your priorities and what is most important to you on that job. Here are a few things that you should consider:

Ready for work at Morogoro Regional Hospital! What exactly are you looking for?

The larger the facility, the higher the chances of you being a segment of a well-structured program. As a recent graduate, you will have classroom time as well as hands-on training with professional from various services. A nurse educator will also work with you one-on-one. You will also have many other peers who work alongside you and learn at the same pace. This gives you the opportunity to discussing your fears, concerns, etc, with them.

Generally, the training network at a smaller hospital will not be as developed as that at a larger hospital. The doctors also almost always have their hands full and have very less time to interact with any new nurse on the block.

Can you manage with the minimal training that you will get at a small facility or would you feel more confident with the additional training provided at the larger facility?

How much does being recognized mean to you? 

When you work at a smaller hospital, everyone will know you by first name. Based on the protocol, the administrative staff as well as the CEO and CNO will all make rounds at all the units within the hospital on a weekly basis. When the administration involves itself with the staff, it increases the level of closeness. The atmosphere will be warm and friendly and the line between professional and personal behaviour is blurred.

Contrastingly, at a larger facility, there will be a lengthy chain of delineated job descriptions and command which ends up creating distinct lines between employees.

Would you prefer to work in a place where you are another white uniform and nobody knows your name or would you be more comfortable working in an environment where everybody knows each other by first name?   

Handling multiple job roles

Depending on how small the hospital is, you will face new experiences on a daily basis. The hospital might have cardio/pulmonary techs, phlebotomists and pharmacists and in normal situations you might be responsible for EKG’s, breathing treatments, blood work and might even have to mix IV’s. Since you are more closely involved with patients, it creates a certain level of intimacy and the sense that you are doing a lot for the patients. In effect, you turn into a generalist and attain a broad skill set.

At larger hospitals, there are fewer distractions even as you care for patients and it allows you a greater commitment to the actual nursing process. The treatment and technology-options for patients are much more diverse and developed and you will have the ability to specialize and train in different areas of interest.

Which job environment would you find more appealing?

All of these factors come into play and they are something to think about in order to make an informed decision about the kind of hospital setting that would work best for you.