RUSH University Medical Center Tower in Chicago, Illinois
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Employer Spotlight: RUSH University Medical Center, Chicago

Chicago boasts many of the top healthcare facilities in the United States, making it appealing to nurses and other healthcare professionals. The readers of Conde Nast Traveler have voted Chicago the “#1 Best Big City in the U.S.” for the sixth year in a row in 2022. So it’s no wonder many healthcare professionals seek employment at one of the country’s top healthcare facilities, RUSH University Medical Center. In this employer spotlight, we dive into what it’s like to work at this leading academic health system.

Overview of RUSH University Medical Center

RUSH University Medical Center is one of the city’s top healthcare employers and has served Chicago and surrounding communities for over 180 years. However, its name hasn’t always been the same. RUSH stands for Rush University System for Health. Its teaching hospital was established when RUSH Medical College first partnered with Presbyterian Hospital in 1883 to build a teaching hospital. RUSH University was officially established in 1972, then it officially changed its name to RUSH University Medical Center in 2003.

This academic medical center now includes a 61-bed senior health center, RUSH University and a 671-bed hospital, making it one of the larger Chicago hospitals. It not only serves adults but it’s also affiliated with RUSH Children’s Hospital.

With over 10,000 employees, RUSH University Medical Center ranked 18th in the U.S. and 54th in the world for best hospitals on Newsweek magazine’s 2023 World’s Best Hospitals list. It offers over 70 highly selective fellowships and residency programs in medical and surgical specialties to support future medical professionals. 

RUSH University Medical Center is part of a larger health system, RUSH University System of Health (AKA RUSH), which serves several additional cities throughout Illinois and northwestern Indiana through its hospitals, outpatient facilities, specialty care clinics and emergency centers. RUSH aims to serve its communities through research, education and openness to innovation.

Mission, Vision and Principles

RUSH University Medical Center aims to provide its patients with the highest quality care possible. RUSH’s mission is to “improve the health of the individuals and diverse communities we serve through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research and community partnerships.”

RUSH’s vision is to “be the leading academic health system in the region and nationally recognized for transforming health care.” 

RUSH has five core values that they live behind in every decision, providing stepping stones to their mission and vision. These “I CARE” values are “innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence.”

Awards, Honors and Accreditations

Consistently recognized for providing quality patient care and experiences, RUSH University Medical Center has earned numerous recognitions and accreditations over the years. In 2022-23, U.S. News & World Report ranked RUSH University Medical Center No. 20 on its Best Hospitals Honor Roll and No. 2 Best Hospitals in Illinois. It also ranked as the No. 2 Best Hospital in Chicago and ranked nationally in 10 adult specialties.

RUSH University Medical Center earned its 5th consecutive Magnet recognition in 2020 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Magnet Recognition program recognizes and awards nurses for their excellence in practice and commitment to improving patient outcomes.

Vizient, a healthcare improvement company, ranked RUSH University Medical Center No. 3 in its Accountability and Quality Study. Some additional certifications, recognitions, accreditations and honors the hospital has earned include:

  • Three-star program award from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to the RUSH Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery 
  • Accreditation for RUSH University Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer
  • Hospital Accreditation by The Joint Commission
  • Designated Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission
  • Accreditation for the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy
  • Designation from the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research
  • National Pancreas Foundation Center of Excellence
  • Center of Excellence by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America 
  • Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology
  • Certified Hip & Knee Replacement Center by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs for research safeguards and practices
  • Beacon Award of Excellence for five units at RUSH University Medical Center

Truven Health Analytics has named RUSH University Medical Center one of the top 100 hospitals in the country three times. The Leapfrog Group gave all three RUSH hospitals a Grade “A” for patient safety. In 2018, it was named one of the “most wired” hospitals in survey results from Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

Top Specialties at RUSH University Medical Center

perfusionist in surgery

RUSH University Medical Center offers many world-class specialties and subspecialties. U.S. News & World Report ranked many of its specialties as the best in the nation in 2023-24, including:

  • No. 4 Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • No. 5 Orthopedics
  • No. 13 Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • No. 14 Geriatrics
  • No. 14 Urology
  • No. 20 Pulmonology & Lung Surgery
  • No. 25 Cardiology & Heart Surgery
  • No. 31 Cancer Treatment
  • No. 34 Ear, Nose & Throat
  • No. 40 Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

It also ranked as a high performer in Diabetes & Endocrinology. Other specialties include genetic and transplant services, psychiatry, ophthalmology, rehabilitation, rheumatology and neonatology.

Neurology and Neurosurgery 

RUSH University Medical Center’s neurologists and neurosurgeons seek to provide safe and effective treatment through innovative research. RUSH is a leader in pediatric neurology and offers clinical trials, including screening patients and offering a new drug being studied to possibly slow the progression of Niemann-Pick disease type C. It’s the first Center in the Midwest, and one of only 11 in the U.S., to offer participate in this trial.


The orthopedists at RUSH seek to improve mobility and symptom relief by providing state-of-the-art care. Many of the top orthopedists are named Top Doctors by Chicago magazine. They offer expanded services, such as rehabilitation, podiatry and rheumatoid arthritis treatment programs.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB-GYN) healthcare providers enjoy getting to know their patients while offering compassionate and individualized care. Having one of the largest OB-GYN networks in Illinois, RUSH offers convenient access to care. It also provides OB-GYN clinical trials and childbirth and breastfeeding classes, seeking to improve patients’ quality of care.

Working at RUSH University Medical Center

Located in the heart of the Illinois Medical District, one of the largest in the country, this hospital provides high-quality patient care. RUSH offers comprehensive benefits, including health and wellness and financial programs, and strives to create a healthy work-life balance. Additional perks like LinkedIn Learning and the Laurance Armour Day School also appeal to employees.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

RUSH University Medical Center fosters a diverse workforce through inclusivity and making employees feel like they belong. This healthcare facility supports health and gender equity for veterans, immigrants, older adults, people with disabilities and many others. RUSH hospitals are LGBTQ Health Equality Leaders, earning its designation from the Healthcare Equality Index.

Benefits and Other Perks

RUSH offers many employee benefits, ranging from health insurance to student loan refinancing. Some benefits include:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Free fitness facility access at the RUSH Copley Healthplex
  • 401k or 403b retirement savings plan with employer match
  • 529 college savings plan
  • Reimbursement for some certification expenses
  • Employee discounts
  • Pet insurance
  • Auto and home insurance
  • Identity fraud protection
  • Personal legal assistance

RUSH commits to the health and well-being of its employees with its Center for Clinical Wellness. This center provides free in-person and virtual services, including coaching and counseling.

RUSH Nursing Programs

Nursing students

RUSH nurses serve as leaders in their communities by providing quality, compassionate care. According to its website, RUSH University Medical Center was the first Illinois hospital serving adults and children to receive Magnet designation for its nursing excellence, quality patient care and innovations in professional nursing practice. RUSH offers many shared governance, research and professional growth opportunities, including the following.

Professional Nursing Staff Evidence-Based Practice and Research Committee

The Evidence-Based Practice and Research Committee has a one-of-a-kind nursing residency program and is currently working on many nursing research projects. As of June 2023, some projects include asthma surveillance, delirium in the intensive care unit and animal-assisted therapy. Projects completed in the past included improving hazardous drug safety in a non-oncology setting and drafting a bed management communication policy.

Nurse Residency Program

RUSH University Medical Center boasts a six-month nurse residency program for bachelor’s or master’s degree-prepared nurses. The goal is to aid students with their transition to becoming bedside nurses while feeling competent in practice and patient care. Topics reviewed in the program are patient safety, critical thinking, communication, professional career development leadership and stress management.

Additional Programs

RUSH provides a Critical Care Outreach Team, providing consultation and emergency response to patients. As an academic center, it also offers full-time or part-time nursing staff numerous opportunities to pursue advanced degrees and leadership training. Educational opportunities include:

  • Full tuition prepayment at RUSH University
  • Online RUSH University classes
  • Flexible scheduling to accommodate schoolwork
  • On-site training programs in new technology and clinical nursing
  • Generous tuition assistance at other colleges and universities for relevant degree programs or non-degree training programs, seminars and workshops

Travel Nursing at RUSH University Medical Center

Living in Chicago means there’s always something to do, even on rainy days, because the city is packed with restaurants, sporting events and a variety of art and cultural exhibits. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors by walking along Navy Pier, attending a game at Wrigley Field or strolling through Millennium Park.

Chicago’s healthcare industry is growing, and so are its staff jobs and travel nursing positions. Nursing salaries are also lucrative. As of June 2023, travel nurse salaries averaged $2,302 per week, about 3% higher than the state average. Meanwhile, salaries for staff nurses averaged $51,95 per hour, about 10% more than the state average.

Since pay can vary depending on the healthcare facility, location or your nursing or allied health profession, use a reliable healthcare salary tool to see what the average wage runs for various specialties and locations around the nation. When you explore Chicago as a travel contract option, don’t forget that its cost of living can get quite expensive, so do your research beforehand to help cut expenses.

RELATED: RN Salary Guide – Chicago

Getting to Work

L Train in Chicago

RUSH makes it easier to commute to work with the hospital’s shuttle from downtown Metra stations, the city’s light rail transportation system. The hospital also offers transportation management accounts, making it easier to pay ahead for transportation services. If you don’t have a car, Chicago’s subway system makes getting around less complicated. Chicago O’Hare International Airport offers a convenient way for travel nurses to get into and out of town, with many travel options from the airport to the downtown area, including taking a taxi, rideshare, subway, bus or shuttle. 

On-Campus and Nearby Amenities

RUSH University Medical Center has many on-campus amenities, with popular options including automotive maintenance, a pharmacy and several coffee shops. Surrounding the hospital are many parks and museums, making them easy to enjoy after work or during your break.

Contact Information

RUSH University Medical Center
1620 West Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60612
(888) 352-7874

If you’re on the hunt for new nursing or allied health job opportunities in Chicago, Vivian Health can help. Find opportunities by searching our career board and reading our Chicago career tips.

Amanda Marten, MSN, FNP-C

Amanda Marten MSN, FNP-C is a freelance nurse writer and a certified family nurse practitioner. With 10 years of nursing experience, she's worked in a variety of specialties, including urgent care, travel nursing, post-surgical and intensive care. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, outdoor activities and spending time with her friends and family.

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