Montana is aptly described as “Big Sky Country.” The state is rich in natural beauty and resources, and sparse in terms of population: if you’re the kind of person who prefers big areas without a lot of people, this state with the third-lowest density in the country will be right for you. Montana is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. It’s wide-open spaces serve as home to plenty of ranchers and farmers while providing those who work in less natural settings the opportunity for hiking, fishing, camping, and canoeing, as well as plenty of winter resorts for skiers and snowboarders. Montana offers its residents excellent hospitals, including three that have been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as Magnet Hospitals as a result of their dedication to nursing excellence and patient care. The state has several hospitals that U.S. News & World Report ranks as “High Performing” in specific conditions or areas of medicine and to which Healthgrades has bestowed a Specialty Excellence Award.
Montana’s Top Hospital
Best hospitals in Montana
There are almost 70 hospitals in the state of Montana, ranging from rural community hospitals to members of large health systems. To choose the best among them we analyzed safety and patient outcome data from respected organizations like The Leapfrog Group and Medicare, Magnet Hospital status, assessments from notable publications and websites, and feedback from current and former staff members posted on sites including Glassdoor and Indeed.
The Billings Clinic dates back to 1911, when it got its start as a private practice. Today it is the state’s largest independent health care provider, offering primary and specialty care at its main site and at locations throughout the state, as well as in Wyoming and the Dakotas. A Magnet Hospital that earned a “B” rating from the safety organization The Leapfrog Group, the hospital has won multiple awards and was noted by U.S. News & World Report as rating high performing in one adult specialty and six procedures and conditions. The Billings Clinic is a teaching hospital that has formed a collaborative relationship with the Mayo Clinic. They received the Women’s Choice Award for patient experience in several specialty areas, have been recognized as a Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center of Excellence, and won multiple awards from the American Heart Association. Medicare noted an overall four-star rating for the hospital’s patient outcomes.
Notable facts about the Billings Clinic include:
- Independent, not-for-profit hospital and health system
- Located in Billings, Montana
- The Billings Clinic is an integrated multi-specialty group practice with a 304-bed hospital and Level II trauma center.
- Number of employees: 4,700+
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St. Vincent Healthcare is part of SCL Health, an eight-hospital network that is now part of Intermountain Health. The over-100-year-old hospital is a Magnet Hospital, accredited by the Joint Commission, and is one of Montana’s largest comprehensive hospitals. It received an “A” Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, received four-star ratings from Medicare, and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in six adult procedures and conditions. Among the many awards that the facility has received are a Gold Certification from the Brandon Hall Group in recognition of Organizational Excellence; the Cigna Well-Being Award in recognition of their program supporting employees and their families; and Chime’s Most Wired award in recognition for its leadership in healthcare technology.
Notable facts about Intermountain Health/St. Vincent Healthcare include:
- Level II trauma hospital that is part of an integrated health care system
- Located in Billings, Montana
- Intermountain Health is part of SCL Health, a nonprofit faith-based health system with eight hospitals, more than 150 physician clinics, and home health, hospice, mental health and safety-net services primarily in Colorado and Montana
- Number of employees: 15,000 full-time employees across the system
- Number of nurses: 4,500+ across the system
Providence St. Patrick is a Magnet Hospital that U.S. News & World Report rated the #1 hospital in the state of Montana and noted as high performing in one adult specialty and ten procedures and conditions. The hospital has received numerous awards, including the Healthgrades 2021 Outstanding Patient Experience Award that places it among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient experience and being named as one of the nation’s top performing hospitals by Fortune and IBM Watson Health. The hospital received a five-star rating from Medicare for the quality of its overall performance and an “A” Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group.
Notable facts about Providence St. Patrick Hospital include:
- Level II trauma center
- Located in Missoula, Montana
- Part of Providence Health System
- Number of employees: 1,600+
What makes a best hospital in Montana?
To be recognized as one of Montana’s best hospitals, facilities need to be excellent employers and participants in their community as well as delivering outstanding healthcare. The best hospitals are guided by their values and work to let both their patients and their employees know how much they care by emphasizing safety and ethics and equipping them with the most innovative tools.
To attract and keep the most talented nurses, hospitals have to show how much they value them. While a competitive salary is important, so too are the other benefits that make up the total compensation package. Health insurance, dental and prescription coverage, vision care, tuition reimbursement and paid time off are considered standard. Facilities are working to set themselves apart with more creative offerings including onsite childcare, yoga and wellness classes, a dedicated concierge who manages everything from dry cleaning to scheduling vacations. Staff members are also being offered referral bonuses for connecting their peers to available openings and being offered free onsite continuing education opportunities, more flexible work schedules, and leadership training.
A well-managed hospital knows that their staff will thrive when they are encouraged to grow. The best hospitals not only encourage professional development, they facilitate it by offering tuition reimbursement and the time needed to pursue additional education. Registered nurses who enroll in Masters programs to become Nurse Anesthetists or other APRN titles not only command higher salaries, they also make valuable contributions to the level of care that the facility provides.
COVID-19 put incredible stress on hospitals, and particularly on their nursing staff. Though many responded to job fatigue by leaving nursing entirely, the best hospitals focused on providing support and assistance ranging from stress relieving activities and time off to redistribution of workloads and providing meals. These efforts significantly impact and elevate employee satisfaction.
High patient satisfaction
Studies show that patient happiness is directly correlated to low turnover in hospital staffing, and facilities with policies geared towards patient satisfaction are consistently ranked among the very best places to be treated and to work. By instituting measures geared towards encouraging patients to refer as well as to return, hospitals substantially boost their quality measures.
Other factors that make a top hospital
The hospitals that are recognized as the very best at what they do share certain essential traits. Each one offers innovative, state-of-the-art treatment, each has a robust community outreach program, and each has placed a special emphasis on keeping both patients and employees safe.
Safety record is critical
In response to disturbing reports of hospital patients dying of preventable infections and hospital staff suffering work-related illnesses and injuries, hospitals have renewed their emphasis on improving their safety record and achieving high marks from both government organizations and accreditation agencies like the Joint Commission.
Hospital policies focus on customer services
The best hospitals spend a significant amount of effort on consistently providing excellent customer service to their patients. By applying the time-tested process of institutionalizing actions that have proven popular and effective and studying where things have gone wrong in order to learn from them, they send a powerful message to those they care for, as well as to their workers.
Latest technology and training improve healthcare
From telehealth to state-of-the-art surgical equipment, healthcare is constantly changing and improving. The best hospitals are those that are constantly on the lookout for the newest technology that both improves patient outcomes and increases their staff’s effectiveness. By offering nurses and others constant upgrades in their skills and training, hospitals send a clear message about their value and importance to the organization’s operations.
Ethics leads the way
High quality delivery of health care relies upon compassion, justice, and respect. Hospitals that uphold a high ethical standard emphasize integrity, dignity, justice, and moral courage by empowering their patients, communicating effectively, and collaborating.
Though the national nursing shortage has kept registered nurses high on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of in-demand professionals, finding the role in Montana that’s right for you can still be a challenge. To optimize your chances of finding the job you want and being hired, take the time to prepare, update your resume, and make sure your documentation and credentials are all in order.
Build your resume
A resume is a snapshot of your skills, your strengths, and your credentials. It is the first thing that a hiring manager will review, so make sure the impression it creates is one of professionalism, organization, and competence. Your resume needs to be easy-to-read and well organized, offering a comprehensive summary of why you are the facility’s best candidate and an easy way to contact you for further conversation.
Join a nurses’ association
Joining a union is a personal decision — it’s not right for everyone, but for those who opt in the organization can offer significant benefits. Reduced rates for certification exam fees and advocacy at the local, state, and national level is just the start of the advantages nurses can gain as members of the Montana Nurses Association. For those seeking a job the group offers both the possibility of networking and a robust career center complete with job alerts and postings.
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Attend industry educational conferences and workshops
Attending one (or more) of the dozens of professional nursing conferences hosted each year offers more than a chance for a change in scenery. Educational conferences and workshops expose nurses to new research and techniques that can improve their patient care. They provide networking opportunities and the chance to reconnect with old colleagues, as well as to earn valuable continuing education units.
Keep up with continuing education requirements
Registered nurses, LPNs, and APRNs in Montana are required to complete 24 continuing education contact hours every two years in order to maintain their state license. Incredible Health offers free, accredited CEU classes that are conveniently available online. Once you’ve completed each course, we provide instant documentation in support of Montana state requirements.
Search for job openings
Imagine that instead of you sending out applications, your search for a nursing position in the state of Montana involved reviewing the job offers that had been sent to you. That is exactly what happens when you use Incredible Health’s job search tool. All you need to do is sign up and create a profile that describes your credentials, as well as your location preference and goals. Your information will then get posted and potential employers will respond to you, competing with one another to bring you onboard. Our process has been proven to speed up hiring time.
Transfer your nursing license to Montana
Since October of 2015, the state of Montana has been part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. This means that any nurse with an unencumbered license and residency in Montana became eligible for a multi-state license, and that nurses with a license from a primary state of residence in any other compact state can use their compact license to practice in Montana. For more information on License by Credentialing, click here.
- “Best Hospitals in Montana.” U.S. News & World Report. Accessed July 18, 2022.
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- “Caring for our Caregivers During COVID-19.” American Medical Association. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Digital Health Most Wired.” College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Happy Hospitals Make Happy Patients.” Science Daily. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Hospitals E-Tool.” U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Mayo Clinic Care Network.” The Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 18, 2022.
- “Measuring Up in Wellness.” Cigna. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “National Patient Safety Goals.” Joint Commission. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Organizational Excellence Award.” The Brandon Hall Group. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Outstanding Patient Experience.” Healthgrades. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Registered Nurses.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Specialty Excellence Awards in Montana.” Healthgrades.com. Accessed July 18, 2022.
- “Technology meets challenges, but training ensures success.” Nursing Management. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “The Fortune/IBM Watson Health 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals 2021.” Fortune. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- “Understanding Unhappy Patients Makes Hospitals Better for Everybody.” Harvard Business Review. Accessed July 19, 2022.