14 Pros and Cons of Working in Urgent Care

Urgent Care

If you are in the market for a healthcare job, then you may want to consider working in an urgent care clinic.

Urgent care is one of the fastest-growing areas of healthcare and experts are expecting patient visits to increase.

Long wait times for emergency rooms and primary care have resulted in this growth.

Emergency rooms have struggled in keeping up with the regular stream of patients and the primary care market has not expanded fast enough to accommodate those with the new Affordable Care Act healthcare.

Therefore, urgent care clinics are filling in for that overflow of patients.

While this healthcare segment may never be the premise of a primetime television show, it delivers less drama than medical shows and interesting, fast-paced jobs.

If you are interested in entering urgent care, keep reading about the pros and cons of this exploding segment!

Pros of Working in Urgent Care

1. Decreased Risk of Burnout

If you are on the fence between working in an emergency room or an urgent care facility, consider the emotional toll.

The ER has a tremendous adrenaline rush, but this consistent stress level can result in burnout.

Urgent care locations work at a much slower pace and are a better option for certain personality types.

Experts report that primary care doctors that switched to urgent care clinics are happy with their decision.

Within the standard urgent care environment, physicians can delegate administrative tasks to other employees if the staff is large enough.

Also, they do not need to be on call around the clock and have more flexibility for time off.

2. Intense Hands-On Education and Training

Those who work at urgent care clinics will receive an amazing on-the-job education that prepares them for a variety of medical situations in the future.

With all this knowledge bout different ailments, you will have a fantastic opportunity to professionally develop and grow, while knowing how to manage and diagnose a variety of medical conditions.

Having an urgent care clinic on your resume shows future employers that you can perform a variety of roles.

3. More Predictable Hours

Emergency rooms are open around-the-clock, so many healthcare professionals must work overnight or are on call.

On the other hand, urgent care clinics work on set business hours, like a retail location or a restaurant.

Many doctors work at urgent care facilities part-time, so they can have the flexibility of working in a hospital if they choose.

It is common for medical professionals to work 12-hour shifts at hospitals, which will never happen at an urgent care.

4. Part of a Small Staff

Employees working at urgent care clinics are like a family.

Most locations only have 10-20 employees, so you will be part of a small staff compared to a hospital, which could have hundreds of employees in a variety of functions.

Collaborating with a small staff affords many benefits including building personal and professional relationships, feeling comfortable asking each other for advice about a patient, and getting personalized attention from your superiors.

Also, you will likely serve several roles at the clinic, regardless of your title, which helps build additional skill sets.

5. Patient-Centered Approach

The focus of urgent care centers is on patients.

That means if you work at a clinic then you can make a significant difference in the lives of every patient.

One way you can greatly impact their life is by providing exceptional medical care at a more affordable cost.

Patients often choose urgent care locations over emergency rooms because they need to be cost-conscious.

Therefore, these patients are considering the testing requirements and related costs of labs, x-rays, and other options.

You can help them find creative solutions within their budget and provide top-notch service during their visit.

6. Range of Job Options

Employees at urgent care clinics are in high demand due to their rapid growth and expansion in recent years.

Experts note that primary care physician’s patient numbers continue to decrease but around 750 new urgent care centers open every year.

This means there is a need for additional staff ranging from NP and Pas to physicians.

Those searching for work in this healthcare sector will not be searching for long.

7. Think on Your Feet

One of the challenges and benefits of working in an urgent care facility is you never know who’s going to walk in the door next and with what ailment.

There could be patients with medical problems ranging from pinkeye to the Zika virus after a trip abroad.

The differences in patient disorders are incredibly intense, so it requires that you think on your feet to find a medical solution to their problem.

Those working in urgent care want to approach each situation with the same incredible care level, regardless of their situation.

Cons of Working in Urgent Care

1. Cannot Focus on a Specialty

As mentioned, one of the pros and cons is that you are more of a general practitioner when working at an urgent care.

You must be able to diagnose and treat a variety of ailments, which range greatly in severity.

While you will gain a variety of skills in different areas of medicine, if you want to have a specialization, it can be difficult in an urgent care clinic.

2. Manage Hectic Workloads

While the hours are more structured, some days you may be dealing with significantly more patients than others.

Also, given that most urgent care facilities have less staff than larger offices or hospitals, you may be required to wear more hats than you are used to.

That means you may not just be treating patients.

On the busiest days when you are being pulled in many directions, it can become incredibly stressful to manage alone or with only a few staff members.

3. May Have a Lot of Administrative Duties

Some of the extra tasks that you could be required to perform may be administrative.

At a doctor’s office, that requires appointments, or a hospital, medical staff often have administrative employees who can manage the various required legal documentation.

However, at an urgent care facility with not enough staff, all performing a variety of functions, you may have to manage the administrative duties alone.

4. May Not Be Room for Advancement

Depending on the size of the urgent care facility, there may not be room for advancement within the business.

This means you either need to remain at the location and hope that someday you can move up the chain or transfer to a location that has more growth, development, and advancement opportunities.

As a student fresh out of school, it’s more important to find a job as soon as possible.

However, for the more seasoned healthcare professional, you want to build a career that includes moving up the ladder.

5. Must Deal with Rude Patients

While this could be the case in any medical facility since people are sick or in pain, urgent care employees deal with this often since they do not have a relationship with the patient or the family.

While dealing with rude or aggressive patients will help further build your customer service skill set, it can take an emotional toll on you over time, which can lead to burnout from patients.

6. Older Equipment

Although the sector is growing, not every urgent care facility is updated with the latest medical technology.

Medical devices are incredibly expensive and need to be warranted to be purchased.

Therefore, you may be working at an urgent care facility that has older equipment that is more challenging and slower to use than the latest hardware.

This can slow down your productivity and be frustrating if you must troubleshoot the device.

7. Will Not Build Relationships with Patients

One of the greatest challenges of working at an urgent care facility you are unlikely to build relationships with patients.

You will only see most patients once, maybe twice for a follow-up.

You do not get to learn about their medical histories or delve into their personal lives to build relationships like with a primary care physician.

Instead, they come to be treated for whatever ails them and move on to their regular doctor or another location.

Pros and Cons of Working in Urgent Care – Summary Table

Pros of Working in Urgent CareCons of Working in Urgent Care
1. Decreased Risk of Burnout1. Cannot Focus on a Specialty
2. Intense Hands-On Education and Training2. Manage Hectic Workloads
3. More Predictable Hours3. May Have a Lot of Administrative Duties
4. Part of a Small Staff4. May Not Be Room for Advancement
5. Patient-Centered Approach5. Must Deal with Rude Patients
6. Range of Job Options6. Older Equipment
7. Think on Your Feet7. Will Not Build Relationships with Patients

Should You Work in Urgent Care?

Working in an urgent care facility can be an incredibly rewarding experience for a medical professional.

You have the chance to work on a variety of disorders, but with fewer hours and less stress than emergency room employees.

Also, the shortages in the healthcare industry have opened a considerable number of new locations.

On the other hand, you never get to focus on a specialty, some days could be incredibly hectic, and you will not build relationships with patients.

If you are considering working in an urgent care facility, it is important to understand what you can tolerate and your desired career path.

By reviewing these pros and cons, you should be able to make a more informed decision about your medical future!

Jamie Willis