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Teaching Hospitals


Hi, What are the pros and cons of working in a teaching hospital as an RN? Thanks!


Has 18 years experience.



Good students are a godsend. Students with "graditis" are a never ending source of irritation to the entire unit.

cardiacRN2006, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac.

Pros----lots of pros! It's fun, you get to collaborate with Drs, and play a real role in the care of a pt. Also, there is always someone there to call. They don't yell at you (the residents) and you just see the most interesting patients, diseases and procedures.

Cons-usually not a lot of standing orders. For us, they want us to 'teach' the Dr when they've missed an order by calling them and letting them know.

I totally recommend teaching hospitals to all!

I have limited experience with teaching hospitals, but I really don't like them. I am sick and tired of residents who are scared to death to order the least little thing--- or those who barrel ahead and order the wrong things. I've rarely seen those who hit that happy medium...

I know that I tend to be impatient when it comes to getting things done for my patients; I don't want to wait around for hours or go through any number of people to get what I need. At times it's like pulling teeth to get them to address the simplest of issues.

I understand they need to learn, too, and God bless 'em (and those who can work with them), but when I called one evening for some Tylenol on a patient with a simple headache (no contraindications to using the med) and was told "I'll get back to you, I need to call my 2nd year to find out the dosage" and NOTHING I said could convince him the usual dosage is 650 mg, I wanted to pull my hair out.

Depends on the hospital as well as what type of students they have. Generally, it's a lot more work. Whenever the residents learn about something new, they frequently will order that test for ALL the pts. They like to look for zebras instead of horses. They will come by and rewrite orders multiple times a day. Or they will refuse to give orders that you need NOW because "we'll be there soon".

It can be good or bad but it is generally a whole different ball game than a regular hospital.

My issue now is getting to be the large number of residents who have a poor grasp of the English language (spoken). They can read it just fine but their communication skills are not always the best and trying to get them to understand the nuances of a situation so that they will write the correct order is getting harder. Especially when you have males from countries where women are considered property - they don't like to take direction from a female nurse.

I think alot of my dislike for teaching hospitals is generated from what we went through with my mom. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair. (they did not know I was a nurse)

I had begged her to come to one of our docs when she was diagnosed, but her primary recommended she be sent to this major university teaching hospital (not going to name names--- it's a biggie tho'). After watching what she went through for over four years with those dolts, I would never set foot in that place as a patient nor would I ever recommend anyone else to either. The only good experience we had with them was at the very end (the last 4 days), when she was in their hospice unit.


Specializes in Neuro ICU, Neuro/Trauma stepdown.

Pro's - Doctor's Galore

Con's- 1/2 of them dont know what the hell's going on. Thank God for the wonderful PA's I work with on nights.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I like teaching hospitals because if I need a doctor now, they are plenty of them available. We do a lot of interesting things. Smaller country hospitals send their patients here for care. We take care of people with transplants, major trauma, and complex surgery.

Teaching hospitals often have a dedicated nursing education department. I took my ICU courses there during orientation. Non-teaching hospitals can run nursing ed on a shoestring, if there is a department at all. Teaching hospitals are more prepared to orient new grads to specialty fields.

The disadvantages can be the distance you need to travel to take a patient to CT scan or MRI. I do not like being far away down some remote corridor if a patient gets in trouble. Teaching hospitals are generally large buildings. Parking costs money, especially on a University campus. Patients' families are confused about all the "teams" of doctors-there is no single "doctor" who they can talk to, and the teams change players sometimes.

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