Small local hospital vs. larger/farther away hospital


Being a soon-to-be new nurse, I am torn between where to work. At the end of the day, I will be happy to have a job anywhere! But if given the opportunity (and choice)... would you advise me to accept a job at my smaller local hospital, or commute just under 2 hours to a larger city hospital? A part of me feels strongly about getting at least a year of experience at a larger hospital... but in the long run, if my future/dream is to be working at my local small hospital, should jump in and start working locally as soon as possible? Feedback, pros & cons, comments, questions... all would be appreciated. Thank you!!

klone, MSN, RN

14,497 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

There is no way in HELL I would commute 2 hours, one way, to a job.

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

1 Article; 769 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

Any specific area you want to work? When you say a small community hospital how small are we talking? Despite how small it is med surg is med surg. Whether it's a large hospital or a small one you will start IV's, assess patients, pass meds, monitor labs, etc. etc.

I work at my community hospital and have for the 4.5 years I have been a nurse. I actually enjoy it. It's 3.4 miles from my house, I care for patients who know my family (for good or bad), and I get to know all of the hospital staff so it's really like a family. I think our hospital has about 200 beds???

I wouldn't want to commute that far....if your 12 hour day turned into a 13-14 hour day to finish charting you'd be EXHAUSTED and have ZERO time to do anything besides to home to sleep again just to wake up and do it again. I could work at an awesome hospital an hour away but I value my time (and sanity for the traffic) so I've enjoyed my time being a local nurse.

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

2 hours is too long of a commute to be safe. If you decide to work at the larger hospital, be prepared to move there. 2 hours is 4 hours round trip. If you are going to work 12-hour shifts ... which actually mean closer to 13 hours once you add your lunch break + a few minutes before and after your shift ... that is a "17 hour work day" -- which is definitely not do-able on a regular basis.

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I would go with the local hospital, the only exception is if you are getting your "dream job" at the farther away hospital. Commuting 2 hours will get old quick, especially if you live in an area with a lot of snow! Good luck!



60 Posts

I am in a similar predicament. However, I got a part-time job (3 months left of school) at one of the smaller hospitals and i figured I want to work there. Why? because I will get experience in different areas. Our hospital is so small you train in the ED, OB/Postpartum and Med-Surg. So that makes me happy! Plus I know the community and its resources.