Types of Hospitals and Which Ones Make the Best Employers

Should You Work in a Hospital?

Surgeon suturing patient after surgery
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What Are the Types of Hospitals, and How Should I Choose a Hospital Employer?

Is the hospital job market strong? What exactly is a hospital, and how do I know what type of hospital is the best in which to work? What should I look for when choosing a hospital employer?

A hospital is a facility which provides health care, surgery, and other medical treatment which cannot be completed in a clinic or doctor’s office.

A hospital contains the more expensive, high-tech equipment that physicians’ offices may not have on​site , due to financial or space limitations. Also, a hospital is equipped to treat very ill patients on an in-patient basis, meaning that overnight care is provided. Hospitals also provide a number of services such as trauma care and labor & delivery for mothers and their families.

Types of Hospitals, and Hospital Characteristics

The Hospital Blue Book, a registry of all the hospitals in the nation, lists over 6,500 hospitals throughout the country. Hospitals are categorized in a number of ways. Their size is quantified by the number of licensed beds they have in the facility. A hospital can have anywhere from 10 or 20 beds in a smaller community to over 1,000 beds in a metropolitan area.

The more beds a hospital has, typically the more services it will provide. For example, most hospitals provide general surgeries and deliver babies, but not all hospitals treat major trauma patients or provide cardiac care.

Hospitals are also classified according to the types of services they provide, their financial status (for-profit, or non-profit), and ownership. Some for-profit hospitals are owned by large corporations, some of which are public companies, so the hospitals must pay back some of their profits to investors.

Other hospitals are funded largely by the community taxes. Also, there are military hospitals, academic hospitals, and many others.

What Type of Hospital is the Best Employer for You?

Searching for an employer is always a personal decision. What may be a great fit for one person, may be the wrong place for another person to work. For example, if you enjoy working as part of a small, close-knit group, you may want to work in one of the smaller hospitals. If there are no jobs available near you in a smaller hospital, you may be able to seek out a department which is small and works closely together as a team. Some medical professionals prefer non-profit hospitals because the perception is that for-profit hospitals prioritize revenue over the patients' best interests, but it is not a proven fact that non-profit hospitals provide a higher quality of care across the board. Therefore, you should look at your own goals and personality traits when choosing the best hospital employer for your career needs.

Key Factors in Selecting a Hospital Employer

The two most important things you should check into about your potential hospital employer are its accreditation and financial stability. All hospitals must be accredited by the Joint Commission(JCAHO), and are also licensed by state regulatory commissions as well.

In order to find out the financial status of a hospital, there are a number of sources online including bizjournals and ucomparehealthcare, (which is also owned by About's parent company.)

In addition, you may want to check into the culture of the hospital: what does the administration value in its workforce? How are the staff members treated by the managers and administration? Is the hospital well-staffed, or understaffed? How did the hospital rank in the latest ratings? Does the hospital have a good reputation in the community?

Alternatives to Working for a Hospital

As a healthcare professional, there are many other options for employers from which to choose.

Perhaps working in a hospital isn't for you at all. If you would prefer to work in a smaller, more close-knit environment, perhaps you should consider working for a medical group or smaller clinic.

Additionally, if you are passionate about education, you could work in a university or academic health care setting. such as a university health center, or university hospital.

Regardless of whether you pursue jobs in a hospital or a different type of setting, be sure to do your due diligence before accepting a job. Research the employer online, talk to other employees if you can, and check out patient reviews too.

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