The healthcare sector continues to grow at a vigorous pace. Every day there are new advancements, public and private parties invest more, and new fields emerge. With this rapid growth come a plethora of new opportunities.
Whether you’re starting your nursing career from scratch or looking to expand your options, exploring possible healthcare settings can be helpful. Once you have clear knowledge, you can choose where to practice based on your qualifications and skills.
We have outlined some details regarding different settings in healthcare to help you make an informed decision.
In this article
Hospitals are the most common working ground for nurses. They provide general medical and therapeutic care to their patients along with other healthcare professionals. Nurses are also responsible for monitoring changes in patient’s health and providing them with the best care. While these nurses play a significant role in decision-making, they often follow a higher authority’s instructions to provide treatment.
As a nurse, if you want to have more autonomy, you can obtain graduate-level professional degrees. Master’s in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner programs are among the most common paths to advancing your career. Without putting your career on hold, you can enroll in MSN to NP programs online and specialize in your preferred area. Eventually, with enough experience, you might even acquire the legal right to practice independently.
2. Outpatient Clinics
An outpatient facility usually provides preventive and noncritical care to patients. In contrast to nurses who work in hospitals, outpatient care nurses tend to patients who do not stay overnight. These clinics prefer employing nurses with advanced degrees such as nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, or licensed vocational nurses. If they possess the appropriate qualification, they have greater control over their patient’s care and treatment than hospital nurses. Registered nurses can administer vaccines and other injections, while nurse practitioners can even prescribe medications.
Outpatient clinics allow nurses to work in a fast-paced environment because patients stay for a shorter period. The working schedule is more predictable and typically doesn’t require long working hours compared to hospitals.
However, nurses may feel overwhelmed by the frequent coming and going of patients. Furthermore, the pressure to perform well every time can be exhausting.
3. Physician’s Office
Physicians’ offices usually provide routine, non-emergency healthcare services. In general, the offices offer one-skilled medical care, such as pediatrics, dentistry, dermatology, or general medicine.
A nurse is usually the first person a patient meets on his visit to the doctor’s office. They will prepare the patient for the appointment by measuring their vital signs and asking basic health-related questions.
A doctor’s office is more slow-paced than an emergency room, allowing patients to get individual time and attention. Without the urgency of immediate care, nurses are at a lower risk of making mistakes and can first-hand observe how doctors handle patient care. Unlike hospital nurses, office nurses are responsible for helping with lab tests or maintaining files. It minimizes the risk of burnout, allowing nurses to take better care of themselves.
4. Nursing Homes
Nursing homes offer 24-hour care to elderly or disabled patients. They provide medical care, often offer physical therapy, and palliative care, and help patients engage in recreational activities. Nurses who work in this setting provide direct bedside care for every individual. Besides checking vital signs, they take medication, treat wounds, insert catheters, and monitor IVs.
Working in a nursing home can often be taxing as you’re responsible for getting patients in and out of bed. Often people in nursing homes depend entirely on nurses, which puts a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. The ability to help patients live out their remaining time in peace can be extremely rewarding and may even strengthen your soft skills.
As a school nurse, you need a certification that allows you to work in this setting. School nurses often treat illnesses and injuries during school hours. They conduct routine checkups to observe students who have chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes. Moreover, they’re responsible for implementing screening programs that detect infections early on and prevent their spread. Counseling students about proper diet, exercise, mental health, and sexual health is also a part of school nurses’ job responsibilities.
Working in a school setting has its advantages as nurses tend to have regular schedules and less demanding duties. However, as sole healthcare professionals, nurses may feel overwhelmed at times.
Different employment levels come with specific qualifications and job requirements. If you’re looking for ways to advance your career, consider opting for a professional degree that is right for you. Since working in healthcare can be physically and emotionally demanding, choosing a job based on which healthcare setting suits you best can stop you from experiencing burnout early on in your career.