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Inpatient vs. Impatient — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 12, 2024
Inpatient refers to a hospital patient who stays overnight, while impatient describes someone eager or unable to wait.
Inpatient vs. Impatient — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Inpatient and Impatient


Key Differences

Inpatient care involves medical treatment provided to patients admitted to a hospital or health facility, where they stay for one or more nights. This type of care is typically for more serious conditions requiring close monitoring and comprehensive treatment. On the other hand, being impatient characterizes a person's temperament or state of mind, indicating a lack of patience or difficulty in waiting for something without becoming anxious or upset.
While inpatient status is defined by the necessity of an overnight stay in a medical institution for health reasons, impatience is a behavioral trait that can manifest in any situation where there is a delay or a perceived slow pace, whether in everyday scenarios, at work, or during social interactions.
The term "inpatient" is used exclusively within the healthcare context to differentiate between the types of care and accommodation a patient receives. In contrast, "impatient" is widely applicable across various scenarios, reflecting an individual's response to waiting or delays, regardless of the context.
Inpatient care is associated with the provision of medical services, including surgery, extensive diagnostics, and specialized treatment, which cannot be delivered on an outpatient basis. Conversely, impatience might affect an individual's decision-making, stress levels, and interactions with others, often leading to frustration or a desire to expedite processes.
The criteria for inpatient care are medical in nature, based on the assessment of healthcare professionals. Impatience, however, stems from personal attitudes, expectations, and the individual's threshold for enduring wait times or slow progress without negative emotional responses.

Comparison Chart


A patient admitted to a hospital overnight
Someone eager or unable to wait


Healthcare and medical treatment
Behavioral trait applicable in various scenarios


Status determined by medical needs
Emotional or psychological state


Medical assessment for hospital admission
Personal threshold for waiting or tolerance


Receives comprehensive medical care
May experience frustration or stress

Compare with Definitions


A hospital patient who stays overnight for treatment.
The surgery required him to be an inpatient for three days.


Showing eagerness to move on or get things done quickly.
She was impatient to hear the news.


Someone receiving medical care that requires hospital admission.
Inpatient care includes round-the-clock monitoring.


Having a low tolerance for delays or waiting.
The long line made him impatient.


Classification within healthcare for billing and treatment.
Insurance coverage may differ for inpatient versus outpatient services.


Characterized by a desire for immediate satisfaction.
Impatient customers often complain about slow service.


Refers to a type of medical service.
The hospital expanded its inpatient facilities to accommodate more patients.


Expressing annoyance with delays.
Her tone became impatient during the wait.


Pertaining to treatment that necessitates an overnight stay.
Inpatient procedures are more complex than outpatient services.


Lacking patience in general.
Impatient drivers are a common sight in traffic jams.


A patient who is admitted to a hospital or clinic for treatment that requires at least one overnight stay.


Unable to wait patiently or tolerate delay; restless.


Of or relating to inpatients or their care.


Unable to endure irritation or opposition; intolerant
Impatient of criticism.


(healthcare) A patient whose treatment needs at least one night's residence in a hospital; a hospitalized patient.


Expressing or produced by impatience
An impatient scowl.


A patient who receives lodging and food, as well as treatment, in a hospital or an infirmary; - distinguished from outpatient.


Restively eager or desirous; anxious
Impatient to begin.


A patient who is residing in the hospital where he is being treated


Restless and intolerant of delays.


Anxious and eager, especially to begin something.


(obsolete) Not to be borne; unendurable.


Prompted by, or exhibiting, impatience.
Impatient speeches or replies


Not patient; not bearing with composure; intolerant; uneasy; fretful; restless, because of pain, delay, or opposition; eager for change, or for something expected; hasty; passionate; - often followed by at, for, of, and under.
A violent, sudden, and impatient necessity.
Fame, impatient of extremes, decaysNot more by envy than excess of praise.
The impatient man will not give himself time to be informed of the matter that lies before him.
Dryden was poor and impatient of poverty.


Not to be borne; unendurable.


Prompted by, or exhibiting, impatience; as, impatient speeches or replies.


One who is impatient.


Restless or short of temper under delay or opposition;
Impatient with the slower students
Impatient of criticism


(usually followed by `to') full of eagerness;
Impatient to begin
Raring to go

Common Curiosities

What qualifies someone as an inpatient?

Hospital admission for treatment requiring at least one overnight stay.

How can one manage impatience?

Through techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and setting realistic expectations.

Can impatience affect one's health?

Yes, chronic impatience can lead to increased stress and related health issues.

Is inpatient care more expensive than outpatient care?

Generally, yes, due to the comprehensive nature of services and overnight stays.

Do all medical conditions require inpatient care?

No, many conditions can be treated on an outpatient basis without overnight hospital stays.

Is being impatient always negative?

Not necessarily; it can also motivate quick action or decision-making in some scenarios.

What is the difference between inpatient surgery and outpatient surgery?

Inpatient surgery requires a hospital stay, while outpatient surgery allows the patient to go home the same day.

Can impatience impact relationships?

Yes, it can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings if not managed properly.

What skills can help in coping with impatience?

Emotional intelligence, communication, and problem-solving skills are beneficial.

Why might a doctor recommend inpatient care?

For conditions that need extensive monitoring, recovery, or complex procedures.

Are there therapies for managing impatience?

Cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management techniques can be effective.

How does inpatient care contribute to recovery?

It provides a controlled environment with immediate access to medical care.

Is it common to feel impatient?

Yes, everyone feels impatient at times, but frequency and intensity can vary.

Can an inpatient leave the hospital during their stay?

Only with specific permissions and for valid reasons, as it might affect their care.

Does impatience have any positive aspects?

It can serve as a motivator to improve efficiency or advocate for oneself in certain situations.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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