Hospital vs. Office nurse

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am contemplating a career change to one in nursing. I am new to the message board and have a very basic question. Does anyone have a sense of the overall difference in responsibilities between a Registered Nurse in a hospital and one in a doctor's office (if any). Would you describe them as completely different jobs despite a similar education level?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   ckh23
    Yes there is a difference in responsibilities. That is true for most of the different nursing positions. The responsibilities of a home health nurse are different from that of a dialysis nurse. However, all nursing positions share the same core nursing components you learn in school.

    In a hospital setting you would be dealing with more acute patients that are actively sick and require things such as IV's, antibiotics, etc. I think your responsibilities in a physicians office would depend on the doctor running the practice. The hours you work are different as well. Most private practices have a 9-5 type of scheldule, while the hospital are mostly 3-12 hour shifts and require you to work weekends and holidays.
  4. by   Altra
    Completely different jobs.

    And please note, the vast majority of persons you encounter in an office practice are often not actually nurses, but medical assistants.
  5. by   Been there,done that
    Hospital nurse... BAD.

    Office nurse... GOOD.

    The heaviest thing you will lift is a pen. However office jobs are few and far between,.. and hard to come by.
  6. by   dudette10
    A life-long friend of mine has been an office RN for about 20 years, working for a surgeon. My friend spends 50% of her time on the phone doing pre-op patient teaching, post-op routine follow up, or fielding post-op questions/triage of post-op problems. The other 50% is spent doing pre-op histories/assessments with patient teaching or post-op assessment of surgical wounds and problems with even more patient teaching.

    That's just one example, but I think patient teaching would be the primary responsibility of an RN in an office.
  7. by   KelRN215
    Every field is different and there is a WORLD of difference between hospital and office nursing. Even every office is different. If you work in a primary care office, it's a lot of telephone triage. Some simple things, "does my child need an appointment? Her temperature is 99 and she coughed twice this morning" to things that the person should probably be calling 911 for- "my child has been seizing for 10 minutes, what do I do?", "I have crushing chest pain that radiates down my left arm. Can Dr. Jones see me this afternoon?"