Nurses have such a broad range of applicable skills that they are afforded many different options and settings for employment. They are needed in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and many other places. With so many choices, it can be difficult for nurses to decide the best place to work. One of the first decisions must be whether or not to work in a private practice. Being employed in a medical operation that is owned and operated by an individual physician or a group of physicians is a unique experience for a wide variety of reasons.

1. Higher Quality Care with a Fewer Number of Patients

In a private practice, the number of patients seen and treated in a single day is typically much fewer than the number that passes through the doors of a hospital. Patients are more likely to be seen as individuals, and nurses have the opportunity to carefully listen to a patient’s specific needs and concerns. Many patients will return with other family members, and nurses are able to build more personal relationships with these patients. This type of interaction and quality of care is not really possible in a hospital or a fast-paced medical setting.

2. Set Work Hours with Little Overtime

Nurses in hospitals frequently find themselves on call, waiting for notification that they need to report to work within the hour for a shift. Conversely, these nurses can also have their shifts cancelled at the last minute, losing their income for those hours. Hospital nurses may be asked to cover overtime as well, leading to even more hours at the facility. Private practice nurses, on the other hand, need to only be at the practice during work hours, typically from 8-4 or 9-5, like a business job. Overtime is unnecessary, and these nurses can typically count on their shift times to stay the same.

3. Routine Procedures and Fewer Challenges

Private practices typically deal with routine illnesses and procedures. These facilities offer primary care, illness diagnosis and non-emergency injury treatment. In addition, private practice nurses spend a lot of their time updating medical records and taking basic patient information such as heart rates and blood pressures. The pace is slower than at a hospital, and there are fewer challenges in a private practice. Many of the skills learned for higher level or emergency care will be unused, but the work is generally predictable.

4. Tight-Knit Workplaces Focused on Teamwork

Most private practices have only one or a handful of doctors, and the nursing staff is equally small. In contrast, large hospitals employ thousands of nurses to cover all of the shifts. Seeing the same team members every day in a private practice can allow for building a closer community than is possible in a larger setting. Nurses that need time off can often trade with other employees more easily thanks to this understanding and reciprocal environment.

5. More Work-Life Balance

Hospital nurses are often scheduled for long shifts, frequently spending 12 hours or more on their feet. Hospitals treat in-patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and nurses must be present for all of those hours. Being suddenly called in to work, or being asked to work overtime, can make it more difficult to make plans outside of the hospital. The set hours and routine activities of a private practice make having a family or a social life more reasonable. Private practice nurses are often more rested and able to engage in activities after work rather than a hospital employee who has worked a lengthy shift.

Choosing whether to work in a hospital setting or in a private practice can be a difficult decision for many nurses. However, knowing the positive and negative aspects of working as a nurse in a private practice can help make this choice easier.