Clinic (Doctor's Office) Nurse vs. Hospital Nurse

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    I just accepted an offer in a Pediatrician's office for quite a large healthcare system in our city and I am beyond thrilled! It has been 18 months since I have been in the workforce due to medical issues (3 major surgeries) but I am all recovered and ready to rock 'n' roll!


    I was a Public Health Nurse in health department and loved it. This position has great hours (M-F 8:30am-530pm with one set day off weekly, working 1 weekend a month 8am-12 noon.) and seems to have a very accepting friendly staff. The nurse manager is extremely welcoming and I am hoping all will be a good fit for me.

    My question is....what is your personal preference, hospital or clinic nurse? I tried out hospital work and found that the whole thing was so overwhelming, nurses would frequently cry on shift, be so exhausted that they couldnt function, and there was plenty of nurse "bullying." To me it was horrifying and just an unhealthy environment. In a doctor's office setting I was able to BREATHE, accomplish tasks and not feel like I was being pulled in 100 directions, and did not experience the "nurses eat their young" mentality. I know people say that right out of school you lose your "skills" if you work in a physician's practice setting but I feel like I thrive in it.

    What is your personal opinion on this?
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    I work in a hospital as a new grad and get what you're saying completely about being metaphorically drawn and quartered by your work. My PCP is a DO and the nurses who work in his office, or at least he calls them nurses, are actually MAs. I'm pretty sure there's a title protection law in my state prohibiting this sort of misclassification, but I don't really care. They gave me all my immunizations as a kid, drew blood, took vitals and a basic assessment, handed the info off to the doctor, charted, and essentially did everything hospital RNs do. They don't ever seem too beaten down by their workload, but lots of experienced hospital RNs manage pretty well too. They probably do have to deal with a lot of attitude with the waiting time primary care offices often have, but all around it seems like a pretty laid back gig. I wish you luck and hope for the best for you

    TU RN
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    I recently went to a clinic setting from working inpatient acute hospital for my entire career. I was a bit hesitant, feeling like maybe it was a "step down" but I have to say, I do not regret it ONE BIT. I'm very busy the entire day, but it's a good, productive busy, rather than "chicken-with-my-head-cut-off" feel like I"m going to cry busy. I do miss some of the technical skills like starting IVs and inserting foleys, but I get to do jillions of IMs every day, and I've become excellent at taking an H&P and doing phone triage. And since my career is moving me away from technical skills and towards management, it's okay that I'm not doing bedside skills anymore.

    The only thing I miss about working inpatient is having days off during the week to get things done like doctor appointments, running errands, etc. The weekends just feel so SHORT.
    HeatherGurl84 likes this.
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    I work PRN in a clinic and PRN in a hospital setting. I look forward to my work days at the clinic. I dread my work days at the hospital. The only reason why I didn't take a full time clinic position when it was offered to me is the fact that I'm in school. Otherwise bye bye bedside nursing. Now it can get extremely busy at the clinic but it can be controlled and if someone needs my help then they have no choice but to wait or reschedule. Of course we don't like this but it's how it is there at the clinic. It isn't like this in the hospital. So congrats to you on your new job!

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
    HeatherGurl84 likes this.
  8. 5
    I work full-time in primary care, or more officially, ambulatory care. I used to work in a hospital, and I hated it. Nurse are often mean, nasty people to work with in the hospital setting. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to clinical work. I do not have a cushy, laid back job. I work way more hours in the clinic than I ever did in the hospital. I have such a wide range of patients in all age groups, and all levels of wellness and sickness. My knowledge has to encompass all body systems and critical thinking is a must. Plus, it has to be done in 15 minutes, or over the phone. Now, clinical skills, sure, I don't deal with chest tubes, but I do plenty of IVs, foley catheters, IM, SQ, and ID injections. We do minor surgeries, including colposcopies, vasectomies, IUD insertion and removal, toe nail removals, lipoma, mole, and cyst removal to name a few. Ambulatory nurses also listen when our patients need someone to talk to about their breast cancer diagnosis, their mother's dementia, or any other matter that affects their health, mentally or physically.

    There are many different areas of nursing, and many different types of nurses to fill those areas. For those that feel clinic nursing is not really nursing, they should realize that there is even a certification for the specialty. One which I hold.

    Oh, and to TU RN, I cannot even believe you said MA's do the same thing hospital RN's do. I'm offended and speechless.
    Manda2426, CrazyCoconut, pfchang, and 2 others like this.
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    Certainly a peds clinic offers a much more manageable work environment. But you already know this.

    Not quite sure why you would post this question.

    Watch your back.. the microcosm of a small clinic offers a more distinct target for bullying.
  10. 7
    Quote from HeatherGurl84
    I know people say that right out of school you lose your "skills" if you work in a physician's practice setting but I feel like I thrive in it.
    I couldn't care less if I lost all my procedural skills as long as I thoroughly enjoyed my job.

    Acute care hospital jobs are overrated. Enjoy your doctors' office position!
  11. 1
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I couldn't care less if I lost all my procedural skills as long as I thoroughly enjoyed my job.

    Acute care hospital jobs are overrated. Enjoy your doctors' office position!
    I agree! Enjoying your job means so much more.

    And those hospital jobs are overrated but of course there are those people who think you are not a real nurse if you don't work in that environment.
    Hygiene Queen likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from klone
    I recently went to a clinic setting from working inpatient acute hospital for my entire career. I was a bit hesitant, feeling like maybe it was a "step down" but I have to say, I do not regret it ONE BIT. I'm very busy the entire day, but it's a good, productive busy, rather than "chicken-with-my-head-cut-off" feel like I"m going to cry busy. I do miss some of the technical skills like starting IVs and inserting foleys, but I get to do jillions of IMs every day, and I've become excellent at taking an H&P and doing phone triage. And since my career is moving me away from technical skills and towards management, it's okay that I'm not doing bedside skills anymore.

    The only thing I miss about working inpatient is having days off during the week to get things done like doctor appointments, running errands, etc. The weekends just feel so SHORT.
    And this is why I am glad they built in a day off during the week in this position I accepted. You have a cushion for errands, appointments, ect.

    Been there, done that......I asked to get OTHER people's opinions. This use to be a big discussion point when I was in nursing school.

    And people saying "you need to enjoy your job" is EXACTLY what I want. I don't want to be the nurse sitting in the parking lot, dreading going in. Some nurses have admitted to nausea, crying, panic attacks all before starting hospital shifts....to me that just isn't worth it. You aren't enjoying what you do and it will have negative effects on your health in the long run.

    Some people have even said to my face "doctor's office nurses have such an easy job".....and I know that isn't true. They also work HARD and are busy.

    And I agree about the MA comment....RNs are on a whole other level when it comes to care TU RN.
  13. 0
    I don't work in primary care so what I say has somewhat limited validity, however I have been going to the same PCP since I was a kid (like many people) and I've been through on clinicals so I know what it's like. What I noticed the MAs (people who fill the nurse role) doing there does not indicate RN licensure except maybe to educate. Comparing their jobs was a consolation to the OP who is leaving the hospital to work in the clinic setting. An MA can be trained to do an EKG. You say you do IVs, yet there are plenty of states who allow MAs to do this with training. You say you start Foleys, yet patients (uri reten, BPH, s/p surgery) are taught to catheterize themselves at home - and it doesn't take a 2 year nursing program either. The hospital is where actual RNs are needed. As far as I'm concerned, it's what defines the profession.


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