10 Differences Between a Public Not-For-Profit Hospital Verses a Private For-Profit Corporate Hospital

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I work for a private, corporate hospital as a floor nurse. I am precepting at a public, independent hospital in an administrative role. The differences in the way things are done and the possibilities for change and innovation are astounding. As much as I am a loyalists, and would really love to stay where I am, as a nurse who wants to be a part of positive change in healthcare, this may prove to be more difficult than anticipated for many of the reasons which I have listed:

What I have noticed the Public Hospital does that the Private Doesn’t:

  1. Promote conversations about change and improvements
  2. Has the ability to change and improve their EMAR based upon the needs specific to the community and the organization
  3. appears to be less budget-conscious – by this I mean that every question/suggestions/scenario wasn’t followed by a money concern – they were purely workflow, patient, and people oriented
  4. embraces students and promotes education – perhaps this is just the outsider phenomena, but every person I have met has been thrilled at the prospect of having me shadow them
  5. People do not seem to be job scared. In fact, they are trying to recruit more employees and make new departments to handle the increased growth of the facility. Actually before I stepped foot into the door, the manager asked to review my resume and alluded the fact that if I wanted a job that there were plenty of opportunities for me.
  6. Rewards and recognition for the nurses and other healthcare members are more noticeable and seemed to promote a greater feeling of appreciation amongst the employees
  7. Everyone smiles.This isn’t just a coincidence, in fact, it’s a job requirement. When you are hired at the public hospital the standard is set for a smile and a pleasant demeanor. Really, I’ve noticed this for years, as being a big difference between the hospitals, but it really does make a difference in your experience in the hospital. When people around you smile and are positive, it makes it a heck of a lot easier for you to do the same. Positivity breads positivity.
  8. Encourage promotions and potential for growth within the organization.
  9. The meetings are productive and positive and combine personal style and humanity with the tasks at hand.
  10. Innovation is a daily occurrence across the organization.

Here’s what it boils down to: Money.
It seems like every decision at the private hospital is always carrying the budget string. While ultimately I understand that a hospital is a business, it is so discouraging to always like everything is negotiable based upon prices tag. While at the public hospital the concerns were based upon workflow and what it would do for patient care, then budget was discussed, almost as a add on. And this was on an administrative level even. As a floorI nurse the budget is forced down my throat at the private, for-profit hospital. However, even the people who control the budgets do not seem to focus on it primarily.
I have to say, its been incredibly refreshing to have the patients and staff be the primary focus of the work put forward. It felt to me as if people were what matters not profit, and it was beautiful.
Please note, these are just my personal observations and opinions about the experiences I have had. They do not reflect what either organization has set forward as what they intend to represent. I am not a representative for either hospital and my opinions are my own. I will also say that going to visit and living somewhere are two entirely different scenarios, so I do know that as an outsider I may be seeing the through rose-colored glasses, but they sure are pretty.

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6 thoughts on “10 Differences Between a Public Not-For-Profit Hospital Verses a Private For-Profit Corporate Hospital”

  1. As a former team member of management in a for profit system. She is indeed tellling the truth, I was in operational finance also. people in for-profit hospitals have to walk on pins and needles. the jobs are so stressful and people seemed as if they hated life in general. i respect the right of business and every business endeavor but for private is designed based upon big people at the top receiving huge bonus checks while stressing the hell out of worker ants. while they go on their monthly vacations to the tropics and really have no sense of what is going on in the facilities other than a manipulated number on a spreadsheet or report. im glad i got out, it was a waste of life.

    1. thank you for affirming this for me. Even middle management seems to be afforded great luxarys while we have our bonuses stripped from us.
      I’m almost certain I will be exploring other opportunities shortly after I receive my BSN. Hopefully it will be informatics focused. I need to feel valued, and right now I don’t.

  2. When you say public hospital do you mean public hospital in the sense it means in Australia, Canada or the UK where public means the hospital is owned and operated by the state?

    1. No.
      Public, not-for-profit, meaning they have to put any profits directly back into the hospital instead of padding a fat bank account somewhere. Because of this they get bigger tax breaks and more indigent funds and supplementations from the government. They are ran as a private business, but they do receive some funding from the state, but they state doesn’t write the paychecks.

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