Whether you’re looking for big city living or wide open spaces, you can’t go wrong with choosing to work and live in Illinois. The state has towering skyscrapers and sprawling farmland, access to the world through one of the world’s busiest airports. U.S. News & World Report ranked four different Illinois cities among the best places to live in the United States based on affordability and clean air, and to top all of that, the state has some of the country’s best hospitals, including several that are nationally ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Hospitals, and there are 14 Illinois hospitals listed on Healthgrades’ list of 250 best in the nation.
Forty one of the 589 hospitals recognized as a Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center are found in Illinois. This highly prized designation recognizes facilities that distinguished themselves by their dedication to high standards of patient care and by their dedication to nursing excellence.
Illinois’s Top Hospital
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital
- Rush University Medical Center
- Advocate Christ Medical Center
- Loyola University Medical Center
- University of Chicago Medical Center
Best hospitals in Illinois
There are many excellent hospitals in Illinois, and choosing the best required establishing criteria that would best represent the interests of nurses looking for the very best places to work. While every hospital on our list has achieved magnet status, we narrowed our selection by identifying those that had also been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Reports and who had received high marks for safety and patient outcomes from federal agencies and other respected organizations like The Leapfrog Group. We also reviewed feedback from current and past employees on national employment sites including Glassdoor and Indeed.
Ranked #10 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll, Magnet Hospital Northwestern Memorial Hospital was nationally ranked in ten adult specialties and rated high performing in one adult specialty and 17 procedures and conditions. Its patient-forward focus led to it being one of the first hospitals in the country to dedicate private rooms to all patients, for which it received the 2016 Legacy Project Award from the American College of Healthcare Architects. Among the other awards the hospital has received are a 5-star overall rating and 4-star patient survey rating from Medicare, an award for leadership in LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) healthcare by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index, and CHIME’s Most Wired – Quality Award, which recognizes hospitals demonstrating best practices through their adoption, implementation and use of information technology.
Notable facts about Northwestern Memorial Hospital include:
- Nonprofit academic medical center
- Located in Chicago, Illinois
- Flagship campus for Northwestern Medicine and primary teaching hospital for the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Affiliated institutions include the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Number of employees: 33,700 system wide
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Ranked 19th on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll, Rush University Medical Center is a Magnet Hospital that is also nationally ranked in nine adult specialties and rated high performing in one adult specialty and 14 procedures and conditions. This general medical and surgical facility is also a teaching hospital that has consistently been recognized for its outstanding patient care, education, research, and community partnerships. The hospital received an “A” Hospital Safety Score from The Leapfrog Group, a 5-star overall rating and 4-star patient survey rating from Medicare, and among its many recognitions and awards it ranked #2 on health care performance improvement company Vizient’s quality care list and was named an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader in the 2022 Healthcare Equality Index.
Notable facts about Rush University Medical Center include:
- Nonprofit academic medical center
- Located in Chicago, Illinois
- Flagship hospital for the Rush University System for Health, which includes Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center
- Number of employees: Nearly 10,000 employees
In addition to being awarded Magnet Hospital status, Advocate Christ Medical Center was ranked the 4th best hospital in the state by U.S. New & World Report, with national ranking in two adult specialties and one pediatric specialty and rated high performing in eight adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions. The hospital has received many accolades, including being listed among Becker’s Hospital Review’s 100 Great Hospitals in America and100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Heart programs. Advocate Christ Medical Center is also the recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke GOLD PLUS Quality Achievement Award and its Target: Stroke™ Elite Honor Roll Award for three consecutive years.
Notable facts about the Advocate Christ Medical Cener include:
- Faith-based, non-profit health system
- Located in Oak Lawn, Illinois
- Part of Advocate Aurora Health, a system made up of ten hospitals, 400 sites, and two kids’ campuses.
- Number of employees: 35,000 systemwide
- Number of nurses: 10,000 systemwide
Loyola University Medical Center is a quaternary care facility that includes a Level I Trauma Center, a nationally recognized burn center, a renowned transplant center, and a special 20-bed unit for patients undergoing stem cell transplant. An AACN Magnet Hospital, its high quality care has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as nationally ranked in 3 adult specialties and high performing in six adult specialties and 11 procedures and conditions. Its campus includes the Ronal McDonald Children’s Hospital. Among its many awards and recognitions, the facility was named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “100 Great Hospitals in America”. It was named a “Most Wired” Hospital by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine and appeared among Newsweek Magazine’s World’s Best Hospitals 2021.
Notable facts about Loyola University Medical Center include:
- Private academic hospital
- Located in Chicago, Illinois
- Part of the Loyola University Health System, a quaternary-care system including the Loyola University Medical Center, the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, the Loyola Outpatient Center, he Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Center for Translational Research and Education, and the Loyola Center for Fitness
- Number of employees: 2,982
The University of Chicago Medical Center is a general medical and surgical facility as well as a teaching hospital. It has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in six adult specialties and four pediatric specialties and rated high performing in four adult specialties and 12 procedures and conditions. The Magnet Hospital received an “A” Safety grade from The Leapfrog Group and a 3-star rating for overall performance and on patient review surveys according to Medicare and has received recognition and awards from several highly respected organizations, including being fully accredited by the Joint Commission; receiving the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke GOLD PLUS Quality Achievement Award and its Target: Stroke™ Elite Honor Roll Award; being recognized as an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation; and being designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Specialty Care by Blue Cross and Blue Shield in several categories.
Notable facts about University of Chicago Medical Center include:
- Not-for-profit academic medical center
- Located in Chicago, Illinois
- Flagship campus for the University of Chicago Medicine system and teaching hospital for Pritzker School of Medicine
- Number of employees: 9,406 system wide
- Number of nurses employed: 2,491 registered nurses
*Incredible Health helps these hospitals find permanent nurses. Sign up to get matched with nursing jobs!
What makes a Best Hospital in Illinois?
The best hospitals in Illinois share several key characteristics. In addition to being dedicated to the care and healing of patients, they are also academic and research institutions that work to advance and improve medical knowledge and treatments. They are leaders in their communities that treat their staff with respect and make their work environment a welcoming and supportive place.
The best hospitals understand that their most valuable asset is the people that work for them and care for their patients. They know that what makes them great is having great people, and the offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain top talent. Though every facility is different, highly desirable benefits include on-site childcare, vouchers for travel, free parking, tuition reimbursement, laundry services, and housecleaning services, as well as the more typical healthcare coverage, dental care, life insurance, disability insurance, vacation and personal time off, and sick leave.
The ambition and drive that motivates a nurse to apply for a job at one of Illinois’ best hospitals doesn’t go away once they are hired. That’s why it is important for nurses to have the opportunity to continue learning, growing, and advancing in their career. Employers who recognize and respond to this need offer opportunities for Registered Nurses to attend school so that they can pursue positions with greater responsibilities and independence, as well as higher salaries.
Employee satisfaction is what makes the difference between looking forward to the day’s work and dreading it. The stress and nurse fatigue that was created by the COVID-19 pandemic has continued in some facilities, but hospitals that value their staff members work hard to provide support and wellness programming.
High patient satisfaction
The best hospitals are constantly striving to improve the care that they provide, and to gauge their progress they check back with patients. The feedback that they receive is drawn from surveys, but also by the face-to-face comments that staff members receive in response to compassionate care. Nurses who work in facilities with high levels of patient satisfaction are more fulfilled and happier in their work.
Other factors that make a top hospital
A hospital can set itself apart in many ways, but healing is always at the center of its mission. A comprehensive approach includes dedication to safety protocols, upholding ethical standards, and working towards the health of the community.
Safety record is critical
A hospital’s safety record encompasses the efforts it makes to reduce patient injuries and infections as well as the protocols that protect its employees from injury. The best hospitals pay attention to both.
Hospital policies focus on customer services
Hospitals that pay attention to both patient experience and patient satisfaction understand that they have an obligation to treat those they care or – and their families and loved ones – as customers. Working to improve healthcare delivery in a way that goes beyond medical treatment is an indication of a hospital that is striving to be the very best.
Latest technology and training improve healthcare
Many of the hospitals that are included on our list have received awards for their adoption of innovative technology. Hospitals that invest in the most up-to-date equipment and who spend the time to train their staff in their use put themselves ahead of the curve and provide their employees with skills that increase their value and knowledge.
Ethics leads the way
Social issues and inequities permeate all aspects of our culture, and are deeply felt within healthcare. Hospitals that operate with integrity and who are true to their mission statement serve as role models and leaders within their communities and their industry.
Despite the existence of a national nursing shortage and an anticipated 9% growth in the need for nurses over the next ten years, being hired by one of the top hospitals in Illinois requires demonstrated experience, skills, and effort. To help you optimize your chances of landing the job that you want, we’ve provided several helpful hints:
Build your resume
No matter how much nursing experience you have and no matter how confident you are in your skills, sitting down and putting it all into a resume is a challenge. To help, we’ve provided resume templates that you can use as a starting point. Be sure to keep things organized, use professional language, and where appropriate, match your strengths and job experience as closely as possible to the job description posted for the position that you seek.
Join a nurses’ association
Not everybody wants to join a union, but when considering the pros and cons, be mindful of the networking opportunities that joining one can provide. In Illinois, the Illinois Nurses Association fights for nurses’ rights, offers continuing education opportunities, and maintaining an up-to-date resource for career opportunities.
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Attend industry educational conferences and workshops
Professional nursing conferences offer more than just a change of scenery. Attending these gatherings introduces you to new colleagues, exposes you to new research, and offers the opportunity to earn continuing education credits that help you keep your licensure current. They are also a great way to chat with other nurses about openings they may know about long before they’ve been posted.
Keep up with continuing education requirements
Illinois requires Registered Nurses to complete 20 contact hours of continuing education every two years, and for APRNs the requirement is 50 contact hours. To help you keep your Illinois nursing license current, Incredible Health offers an easy way to complete free accredited Illinois CEU courses that can be quickly completed. We then provide instant certificates for submission.
Search for job openings
Today’s job application process is completely different from what existed as recently as fifteen years ago. Where hard copies of resumes were once sent by mail to human resources departments, today’s openings are posted on job boards and hospital websites for applicants to submit their resumes. Incredible Health has created an innovative recruitment tool that improves the process even further, allowing you to create an online profile that details your qualifications and inviting hospitals to reach out to you. You’ll get multiple offers in a matter of days!
Transfer your nursing license to Illinois
The state of Illinois is currently considering joining the Nursing Licensure Compact. If adopted, the measure would make it easier and less expensive for nurses to provide telehealth services across state lines, as well as to practice in states other than where their original license was granted. Until the measure is approved, nurses with licenses that were issued by another state will need to fill out the appropriate forms.
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