If you’re at the beginning of your medical career and wondering which path to take, you might be wondering what working in a hospital is really like? 

Becoming a doctor in Australia is a long and strenuous process, and certainly not for the faint of heart. To pursue a career in medicine, candidates need to finish Year 12 and graduate from a Bachelor’s Degree, which usually takes four years. From there, one then needs to complete a four year postgraduate medical program, before completing a year long internship in order to become fully registered – or almost a decade of study.

After finally receiving their qualification, young doctors are left with another big choice – what to specialise in? If you’re looking for a stimulating working environment, diversity and a true sense of making a difference, then it might be time to consider working in a hospital in the healthcare sector. 

What To Expect From Working In A Hospital

Hospital services are provided by public and private hospitals and funded in a range of different ways. Largely, public hospitals are owned and managed by state and territory governments, and private hospitals are owned and managed by private for-profit and not-for-profit organisations. 

Both public and private hospitals can receive funding from governments as well as from individuals and health insurance schemes, and hospitals include admitted and non-admitted patient services. Admitted patient services include medical, surgical and other services for both emergency and elective admissions. They include acute care, mental health care, maternity services, subacute and non-acute care. Non-admitted patient services include emergency department services and outpatient clinics. 

Needless to say, working in a hospital means that your professional title can range from anything and everything from being a nurse to a neurosurgeon. However, thanks to entire generations being brought up on Grey’s Anatomy, House and yes – even Scrubs – it can be easy to misinterpret what working in a hospital is really like. 

While there are certainly plenty of other more relaxing workplaces to opt for, working in a hospital can also be one of the more rewarding destinations when it comes to your career in healthcare. If you’re weighing this way of life up, what should you first be aware of?

Pro: Varied Workload – When working in a hospital, no two days are the same. Expect to see a huge variety of medical conditions and patient requirements, which in turn will teach you a lot about your field. The very nature of how hospitals work also brings some flexibility when it comes to the type of shifts you opt for, although this often depends on your role.

Pro: Join A Team Environment – Depending on your role and the size of the hospital, you’ll also come into contact with a large number of health professionals from varying backgrounds. The high pressure and requirements of most hospital roles means that you’ll also be working with seasoned professionals most of the time, who of course also have a lot to teach. 

Pro: Make A Real Difference – Many people opt for working in a hospital because of the rewarding and satisfying feeling that making a real difference in the world around you brings – you’re quite literally changing and saving lives. After all, solving an illness or bringing a smile to a patient’s face are both paramount when it comes to doing your job. 

Con: Expect Big Hours – The thing about working in a hospital is that when a member of society needs access to one, it’s often out of hours. You may be required to be on call, pick up extra shifts regularly, and work twelve hour shifts as a minimum. Very few people escape working nights and weekend shifts during their time as a hospital employee. 

Con: Exposure To Sickness – A natural consequence of working in a hospital is that you’re constantly surrounded by people when they’re at their worst, and that includes exposure to the germs, sickness and pathogens that may have brought them to a hospital in the first place. Although over time, it’s common to develop a powerful immune system that can handle many of these. 

Con: The Stress Factors – Beyond the physical pressures and at times unruly patients, working in a hospital can also be emotionally draining too. Seeing patients fall further into sickness or even die can definitely get to you, and is statistically somewhat inevitable and just another part of the job. 

Starting Your Career In Healthcare 

If you’re a recently qualified doctor and are looking for career options outside of working in a hospital, it should come as no real surprise to see that the practice of becoming a locum doctor is on the rise. With increased flexibility and opportunities available, just a handful of the key benefits associated with this career path include greater flexibility, the ability to travel, increased earning potential and ultimately – job satisfaction. 

House Call Doctor are a team of medical practitioners who specialise in optimal at home health care, and provide after hours access to doctors across Queensland. As a wholly Australian owned and managed medical service, House Call Doctor cares about providing access to the very best medical care to people when they need it most, when their regular GP is closed. 

If you’re intrigued by the idea of making your career count, why not register your interest with us to become a locum doctor and build the work life balance that you’ve always envisioned for yourself.