A hospital today is a centre for professional health care provided by physicians and nurses, whether or not surgery is carried out. However it was a rest room attached to a monastery or convent, see below.

There are several kinds of hospitals; the best-known is the general hospital, which is set up to deal with many kinds of disease and injury, and typically has an emergency ward to deal with immediate threats to health and the capacity to dispatch emergency medical services. A general hospital is typically the major health care facility in its region, with large numbers of beds for intensive care and long-term care, facilities for surgery and childbirth, bioassay laboratories, and so forth. Larger cities may have many different hospitals of varying sizes and facilities.

Kinds of specialized hospitals include trauma centers, children's hospitals, seniors' hospitals, and hospitals for dealing with specific medical needs such as psychiatric problems (see psychiatric hospital), pulmonary diseases, and so forth.

A hospital may be a single building or a campus. Some hospitals are affiliated with universities for medical research and the training of medical personnel.

The name comes from the same root as hotel and hospitality. Hospitals originated as religious communities, with care provided by monks and nuns (an old French term for hospital is hôtel-Dieu, "hostel of God.") Still today, individual hospitals often have religious affiliations. Though this usually relates just to historical ties and possibly to a particular community served by the hospital, some hospitals do not offer particular medical procedures (such as abortion) on the basis of their religious affiliation.

A medical facility smaller than a hospital is called a clinic.

See Also: List of hospitals