Beyond the emergency room
Some of the largest single employers in Western Massachusetts are hospitals, and the career opportunities they offer go far beyond emergency care.
Hospitals that provide acute care treat patients for an episode of illness, an injury caused by an accident or trauma, or recovery from surgery. Acute care facilities focus on short-term care.
Patients that require more aggressive care over a longer period of time are treated in hospitals with long-term acute care facilities. These facilities focus on medical or rehabilitative care for patients that are chronically ill or require near constant monitoring. Patients in long-term acute care generally are admitted for longer than 25 days.
Whether a patient is in an acute care or long-term acute care facility, typically their condition is considered severe enough to require constant care or monitoring. Patients with more chronic conditions or that require less care will spend more time in a skilled nursing facility or in outpatient rehabilitation. As a result of this shift from hospital settings to other care settings, employment in hospitals is expected to decline over time.
Careers in the hospital
What is it like to work in a hospital?
Not all hospitals are the same, but there are some aspects common to almost all hospitals that should be considered:
- Hospitals are open 24/7. This can provide more options for shifts, but also means that hospital employees should plan on working occasional holidays, in all kinds of weather, and sometimes long or unexpected shifts.
- Hospitals are fast paced. Almost all jobs in a hospital somehow affect patient care. This means that most hospital work is very fast paced, sensitive to detail and can be stressful
- Hospitals are collaborative. Whether between care team members, departments, or even the patient and family, communication and team work in the hospital setting is critical.
- If you are interested in patient care, but are not sure that a hospital is the right setting for you, you may want to consider elder care services, home care, or community health. These are all growing areas of healthcare delivery that provide many opportunities for a rewarding career. Many hospitals in Western Massachusetts also have Visiting Nurse Associations (VNAs), hospice providers, medical labs, and primary care facilities associated with them.