Hospital versus LTC...


For CNAs who have experience in both LTC (geriatrics...) and various Hospital settings, what would you say are the pros and cons of both?

What aspects of hospital work are better then LTC? What aspects of LTC is better then hospital? Which setting is most enjoyable (if work can be enjoyable, that is...)?

Just looking for opinions :D


19 Posts

Thank you for asking this question! I am very interested in knowing the answers that you receive, because I am a new nursing assistant, who is currently looking for a job in both LTC's and hospital and has always wondered the same thing.

jb2u, ASN, RN

1 Article; 862 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, Hemodialysis. Has 5 years experience.
For CNAs who have experience in both LTC (geriatrics...) and various Hospital settings, what would you say are the pros and cons of both?

What aspects of hospital work are better then LTC? What aspects of LTC is better then hospital? Which setting is most enjoyable (if work can be enjoyable, that is...)?

Just looking for opinions :D

What I liked about get to KNOW the residents. They are wonderful!!! The stories they tell, and the life they have lived!!!!

What I did not like about LTC...a LOT of total cares. It is absolutely back breaking work. It is heart breaking to have a resident love you one day and can't remember you the next. You have to give a lot of baths (in a tub) and showers, get people dress, help them eat, get them out of bed, put them back to bed three times a day, high cna to resident ratio. Policy in the LTC that I worked for was that nurses do not do any basic care, only pass meds, assessments, and wound care.

What I liked about the hospital...many patients can take a bath themselves. I would just set up the basin of water and helped with whatever they couldn't reach. I would also change their bed while they were up. Usually, a lower nurse to patient ratio. Most nurses were helpful with basic care, if you needed the help.

What I did not like...being short staffed, working for patients or families that were abusive, especially to the cna's because we were "just the cna's." Some people will view you as a personal servant!!! Having to work with nurses and other cna's that just didn't seem to believe in team work.

Overall, I way prefer the hospital setting. I do miss talking to the residents in my old LTC home, but I really enjoyed most shifts in the hospital. It takes a VERY special person to handle LTC long term, IMHO!!!

I hoped this helped in some way!!!




253 Posts

I like the hosp way better than LTC...In the hosp I found that the nurses helped ya more and you got to learn alot more about illnesses and injuries ect. then what you would in LTC..It's been so long since I worked LTC that I really can't tell ya the pros and cons from it. Other than noone helped ya much.

I never really enjoyed the LTC setting because it was the same thing over and over again. But what I did enjoy was getting to know the patients personally. I learned so much from them. Now I worked in LTC with a rehab section, and that was mostly like a hospital setting, patients coming for rehab and then going home. You got to see lots of things there. The disadvantage there is that it's a sub-acute so you're not going to see EVERYTHING that you would see in the hospital. But you do get to see a lot, more so than a LTC facility.

Now the hospital. Everything there is so high tech compared to the LTC facilities. Charting is done by computer and YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF LINENS, or other important stuff you need because someone is always stocking them for you. They all have electric beds and things are not always breaking down like in the LTC facility.

Hope it helps! Good Luck

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 8 years experience.

I really loathed working in LTC. It was back breaking work, and for me to see the same patient over and over again is not appealing.

I love working in the hospital because you get to see some crazy stuff and the codes are a good learning experience. Just last month I got to work O.R. and watched tons of surgeries, the other day we had a code blue and its amazing to see how nurses collaborate together to resuscitate someone. If you love change and motion a hospital is right for you

Heidi W

31 Posts

I definately enjoy the hospital much much much more. My first job was in a rather run down LTCF though, very understaffed, never had enough gloves, linens, you name it. And honestly-not to be mean but I just didn't like working with geriatrics that much. Everyday is pretty much the same.

In the hospital you see a lot of different things, meet alot of different people and are usually well-staffed, organized and co-workers are typically much nicer to work with.

I have also worked in home-health and I really enjoyed that. The people are usually very interesting and appreciate you coming. The main reason I switched to the hospital was the low compensation for gas/car maintenance didn't actually cover gas and maintanence.

Everyone's different and you really just have to find your own little niche. The best advice I can give you though is if you not happy with a job-give it a few more weeks and if it doesn't get any better, find something else!

Specializes in Pediatrics.

LTC - you get to know the pt, not much change in routine shift after shift.

Backbreaking work, total care pts without a lot of help. Sometimes 1 nurse for 40 pts with 3 CNA.

Hospital - I work in an ER so everyday it is different, never know what is going to walk in the door. I have gotten to see a lot of different procedures done, floley, central lines, chest tubes, intubations, lp's. I have seen how the nurse function as a team during codes.

Generally hospitals do prefer that you have some LTC experience before they hire.


2,040 Posts

Specializes in LTC, case mgmt, agency.

Depends on if your are looking to stay a CNA or continue on for LPN or RN. If you are considering LPN, I would look at LTC experience. Although hospitals ( not all ) hire LPNs too, they 99% of the time will not hire an LPN unless he/she has LTC experience. I personally, found LTC to be backbreaking and hard, but also developed some very personal and rewarding relationships where I felt I made a huge difference. happy0034.gif Especially with residents who did not have any family.

In the hospital setting, alot more support and yes, the nurses will help out alot more than in LTC. Although even some LTC nurses do try to help. If you want to go for your RN, then I would consider hospital work first as you will be exposed to more and different procedures, etc. sign0061.gif

Ultimately you 'll have to make your own choice, but you could also do both for a time and see which one is for you. Good luck!


207 Posts

Specializes in CNA. Has 5 years experience.

I'm a bit late to the thread and don't know if you're still soliciting answers. I did both LTC and hospital. Totally different experiences.

Most of the answer as to which would YOU prefer depends on your ability to learn and personality. Hospital was a huge learning experience --- constant training on computer systems, areas as EKG's, myriad procedures, medical conditions, hospital procedures, etc. Also, priorities changed by the minute. You're all ready to help bed bathe some patients and now you have to discharge someone, or set up a new patient coming from post-op (that kind of thing). If you like to learn, can handle stress, not have a routine, don't care about getting to know patients, fast-paced with priorities changing, hospital work is for you.

If you like routine, getting to know your patients, having a good idea of what you will do each day and much simpler tasks (not 'simple' in physical difficulty, but simple in complexity) , LTC is for you.

I liked the hospital. But I had 2 careers before becoming a CNA, the last one was a computer programmer. I thrive on changing priorities, constantly relearning my job and upgrading skills, etc. But many people are simply overwhelmed if they have more than 2 things they have to do in the next 15 minutes, or are afraid of computers. They won't last in hospital.


69 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health, Surgical-Ortho. Has 3 years experience.

I love both... really hate the pay at LTC though. I work at the hospital on a regular basis, and LTC PRN. The hospital is nice because your scope is expanded, LTC is nice because you get to know the residents. I suppose LTC is more physically demanding, but the hospital is no walk in the park either... I tend to get one morbidly obese patient a week.

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