Voted in 2022 as the Best Big City in the United States for an unprecedented six consecutive years through the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Chicago has a lot to offer its residents. Likewise, Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago has a lot to offer nurses and other healthcare professionals who decide to join its staff permanently or through travel nursing jobs or other temporary positions.
Whether you already live in Chicago or are considering moving there, it’s important to find an employer that offers comprehensive benefits and ongoing opportunities for career advancement. Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) consistently receives high marks for patient care and employee satisfaction. This employer spotlight provides an overview of NMH and outlines some of the many opportunities available for nurses within the Northwestern Medicine system.
On September 1, 1972, Chicago’s Wesley Memorial Hospital and Passavant Memorial Hospital consolidated their operations, creating Northwestern Memorial Hospital. By the mid-1980s, the original inpatient facilities couldn’t keep up with emerging technology and became increasingly expensive to maintain. Thus, executives began designing a state-of-the-art facility to replace Wesley Memorial, Passavant Memorial and several other facilities. The new NMH facilities opened on May 1, 1999, and became one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.
NMH is part of Northwestern Medicine, an integrated healthcare system with more than 30,000 employees. It serves as a residency site for students from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Northwestern University School of Pharmacy. The hospital campus is also home to Galter Pavilion, Feinberg Pavilion, Prentice Women’s Hospital, Lavin Family Pavilion, Arkes Family Pavilion and Olson Pavilion.
As part of its mission, NMH strives to:
- Improve the health of community members
- Bring high-quality medicine closer to where patients work and live
- Maintain a positive relationship with the Feinberg School of Medicine
- Integrate education with research to achieve clinical excellence
- Put patients first
For 2022-2023, U.S. News & World Report recognized Northwestern Memorial Hospital for its high-quality specialty care. It ranked the hospital nationally in 10 adult specialties, including gastroenterology and GI surgery, cancer care, and cardiology and heart surgery.
NMH scored 80.9 out of 100 for gastroenterology and GI surgery, based on its 30-day survival rates and track record of discharging many patients directly to their homes instead of other facilities. As a result, it ranked seventh in the nation out of 4,515 hospitals.
NMH ranked eighth in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery, with its overall score buoyed by high performance in several procedures and conditions. The hospital scored a 5/5 for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart attack, heart failure, heart bypass surgery and aortic valve surgery.
The hospital also ranked ninth in the nation for cancer care for 2022-2023. It earned this ranking based on above-average patient satisfaction scores, high 30-day survival rates and excellence in treating cancers of the colon, ovaries, lungs, uterus and prostate.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital was also nationally ranked in these specialties:
No. 8 Geriatrics
No. 10 Diabetes and Endocrinology
No. 10 Neurology and Neurosurgery
No. 12 Urology
No. 13 Pulmonology and Lung Surgery
No. 15 Orthopedics
No. 18 Obstetrics and Gynecology
Awards and Honors
Northwestern Memorial Hospital placed ninth in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Hospitals in America. NMH ranked as the best hospital in Chicago and the entire state of Illinois. The facility has also received the following awards:
- Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion: 2021, 2022
- Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality: 2016–2020, 2022
- Truven Health Analytics Top 100 Hospitals: 2017
- Centers for Disease Control Champion: 2016
- Top 10 Nonprofit for Executive Women: 2016
- 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers: 2015
Northwestern Memorial Hospital originally qualified for Magnet designation in 2006 and completed all the requirements for redesignation in 2010, 2015 and 2020. Magnet status indicates that a facility’s strategic nursing goals align with its overall organizational goals. Nurses at Magnet facilities also have ample opportunities for professional development, allowing them to practice with a high degree of autonomy.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
NMH strives to deliver the best possible care regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or other personal characteristics. The facility also employs a diverse workforce and partners with local organizations to promote economic growth in underserved communities. Nurses and other healthcare professionals promote inclusion via their work on the Inclusivity Taskforce, which identifies and implements opportunities for inclusion within a relationship-based practice model.
Nursing at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Nurses at Northwestern Memorial Hospital have embraced a culture of excellence, allowing them to deliver exceptional care and advance the nursing profession. As a Magnet hospital, NMH provides many opportunities for nurses to learn new skills and apply them in clinical settings.
Due to the hospital’s association with the Feinberg School of Medicine and the Northwestern University School of Pharmacy, nurses also have the opportunity to partner with other healthcare professionals and conduct research that has the potential to advance patient care.
Nursing Strategic Roadmap
NMH has a roadmap for nursing excellence with three care-related pillars:
- Care Delivery emphasizes the importance of following a relationship-based care model that incorporates evidence-based practice and achieves the highest possible levels of safety and quality.
- Care Innovation focuses on advancing nursing science and using technology to optimize nursing practices.
- Care Profession emphasizes the importance of career development, professional collaboration and lifelong learning.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, nurses participate in organizational decision-making groups, giving them input into decisions that may affect their nursing practice. The hospital also has several committees designed to promote professional development and give nurses a voice.
- Nursing Professional Practice Committee: The NPPC works to deliver high-quality care that aligns with NMH’s Framework for Nursing Practice. Members also monitor quality metrics and conduct an annual review of NMH’s staffing plan.
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse/Physician Assistant Committee: The APRN/PA Committee promotes collaboration among advanced practice providers (APP) and ensures that their contributions are as visible as possible. Members are also responsible for rolling out new APP initiatives.
- Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Committee: The NREPC approves all nursing research proposals and supports evidence-based research within the Northwestern Medicine system. Members also plan the annual Nursing Research Symposium.
- Nursing Professional Development Committee: Members of the NPDC create nursing recognition programs, promoting professional development and providing networking opportunities for all NMH nurses.
NMH also has a Nursing Peer Review Subcommittee, Nursing Quality and Patient Safety Subcommittee, Magnet Subcommittee and Nursing Healthcare Policy Subcommittee.
Career Advancement Opportunities
NMH offers nurses dozens of ways to advance their careers. The Nursing Professional Development Committee has documented each development opportunity in the NMH career tree, highlighting advancement pathways in clinical practice, education, leadership, quality, research, safety and professionalism. These are just a few of the options for advancing your career as a nurse at NMH:
- Serving as a patient safety leader
- Delivering poster presentations at nursing events
- Becoming a leadership mentor for less experienced nurses
- Working as a research study investigator
- Writing articles for nursing journals and other professional publications
- Joining the Medication Safety Committee
- Serving as a student nurse preceptor
- Mentoring nurse interns
NMH also offers journal clubs, on-site review courses for nursing certification exams, access to training opportunities via Northwestern Medicine Academy, monthly continuing education courses and full-day conferences.
Travel Nursing at NMH
NMH has a lot to offer travel nurses interested in working at a busy academic medical center. For example, some travel nurse positions are benefits-eligible, giving travelers access to student loan repayment, tuition reimbursement, incentive bonuses and other perks.
Working in Chicago, Illinois, also gives travel nurses access to world-class entertainment, gourmet restaurants, professional sporting events and some of the best museums in the country. Pay rates in the Chicago metro can also be a draw for RNs. Travel nurse salaries in Chicago averaged $2,897 per week, according to Vivian’s salary data in mid-January 2023, about 5% higher than the statewide average.
As part of the Northwestern Medicine system, NMH offers comprehensive benefits for staff nurses and other employees.
- Insurance: Eligible employees have access to medical, dental and vision coverage, which becomes effective on the first day of the month following a new employee’s hire date.
- Retirement Plan: NMH has a 401(k) plan that matches up to 6% of the employee’s annual salary.
- Northwestern Medicine System Incentive Program: Employees can access financial incentives based on unit and system performance. The staff incentive has a target payout of 2.5%, but it may be as much as 3.75%.
- Paid Time Off: New employees earn as many as 24 days of PTO per year.
- Paid Parental Leave: Birth mothers receive 6 weeks of maternity leave at 100% of their pay. NMH also offers 4 weeks of bonding time paid at 100%.
- Reimbursement for Professional Development: After 90 days of employment, full-time workers are eligible for up to $1,000 in reimbursement for professional development activities.
- Tuition Assistance: Full-time employees are eligible for up to $10,000 per year in tuition assistance. Eligibility begins after 3 months of service if you pursue a nursing degree or after 12 months of service if you pursue any other type of degree.
- Student Loan Repayment: After 12 months of service, you may be eligible for student loan repayment. This benefit is available to employees who have graduated within the past 5 years. Full-time employees are eligible for up to $6,000 in student loan repayment benefits over 5 years.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital operates a shuttle bus between its main campus and Chicago’s train stations, making it easy to get to work via public transportation.
If you decide to drive to NMH, you should know that a 12-mile commute may take as long as 90 minutes due to construction, accidents, inclement weather or rush-hour traffic. Long commutes are typical of living in Illinois, as the one-way commute statewide is higher than the national average.
NMH offers discounted parking rates to employees parking on the medical campus, with the convenience of a payroll deduction.
The NMH campus has more than a dozen dining options, including Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Studio, Panera Bread, Subway and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Employees also have access to multiple retail shops nearby, such as Barbara’s Bookstore, Ashland Addison Florist, Walgreens and Pulse Give Shop, making it easy to grab a snack on your break or pick up something special on your way home from work.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
251 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611