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Nursing at Rush
Frequently Asked Questions About
Nursing at Rush

Do you have Magnet status?

Yes. The American Nurses Credentialing Center granted Rush University Medical Center three consecutive Magnet designations. In 2002, Rush received the four-year designation as a Magnet institution for the first time, after an exhaustive evaluation process coordinated by former Vice President of Clinical Nursing (retired) Jane Llewellyn, RN, PhD, NEA-BC. Four years later in 2006, Rush received redesignation, and in 2010, received the third consecutive designation. The Magnet program recognizes that we are passionate about providing and continuously improving patient care, and we pursue educational and research opportunities to stay at the top of our field. It also recognizes that outside work, our nurses are active as volunteers in their communities and around the world. Acheiving three consecutive designations demonstrates the sustained excellence that puts Rush nurses in an elite category in nursing worldwide.

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What is the nurse-to-patient ratio at Rush?

The nurse-patient ratio varies from unit to unit, depending on specialty area and level of care. Rush adheres to the American Nurses Association's Principles on Safe Nurse Staffing, which affirms that staffing is based on the intensity and complexity of care needed, not solely on the census of a particular unit. Staffing levels are regularly assessed using criteria from an established patient classification system. Through the Professional Nursing Staff’s Staffing Committee, direct care nurses have the opportunity to provide input into nurse staffing by acuity. The committee advises on the selection, implementation, and evaluation of: minimum staffing levels for inpatient care units, written staffing plans for each unit, and an acuity model which provides staffing flexibility and aligns changing patient acuity with required nursing skills.

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Can I do research at Rush?

Yes. Rush University is an integral part of the Medical Center, reflecting Rush’s commitment to fostering centers of excellence in the medical and nursing fields. Types of research include trials of new medical, surgical and nursing therapies. And Rush University faculty members are involved in a wide range of research studies, many of them sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The Professional Nursing Staff’s Evidence Based Practice/Research Committee is available to help guide nurses who wish to participate, learn about or conduct research.

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What type of clinical support is available at Rush?

Nurses have extensive clinical support at the bedside from unit-based nurse leadership, senior-level staff nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and education and quality coordinators. In addition, our Nursing Systems Department offers a variety of educational programs designed to support clinical practice. These programs address nurses' ongoing educational needs and are tailored to each department.

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Do you hire new graduates?

Most areas welcome new graduates, although the number of new graduates who can be accommodated may be limited in some specialty areas. Specialty units that hire recent graduates, or nurses new to the specialty, provide a comprehensive training program that may involve a period of initial orientation on a related general care unit.

NOTE: If you are graduating from a nursing school in a state other than Illinois and you plan to work in Illinois, be sure to inform your school that you want to apply for an Illinois license. Minimal education requirements at Rush call for new hires to hold a BSN. Candidates who hold an ADN and are in a BSN program will be considered.

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Do you hire RNs with pending licenses?

No. However, RNs who already have a license from a state other than Illinois, must apply for, and receive, a temporary license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) before you can be hired. (This is also called "endorsement.") This temporary license allows you to work for a period of six months (from the date of the letter) while waiting for your permanent Illinois license to be issued from IDFPR.

Visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for information about applying for a temporary license.

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What does the orientation process involve?

There are four components to orientation:

  • A one-day New Employee Welcome (NEW) introduction to the medical center
  • A 4 day introduction to the Division of Nursing, in which representatives from departments throughout the hospital discuss patient care and staff support services, demonstrate proper use of equipment and explain job expectations. A day and a half is dedicated to Epic computer training.
  • Each unit has tailored a specific clinical orientation designed to meet the individual needs of the new hire. The unit-based orientation is guided by a preceptor and may range from 6-12 weeks depending on the practice area, experience level, clinical knowledge and nursing skill of the new hire.
  • All newly hired BSN and GEM staff nurses will participate in a year long Nurse Residency Program designed to support successful transition from the role of student nurse to that of a staff nurse.

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What role do assistive personnel play?

The Division of Nursing at Rush employs several types of assistive (non-licensed) clinical staff, all working under the direction of registered nurses.

  • Patient care technicians work in most of the clinical settings.
  • Pediatric nursing assistants are trained to provide assistance for the specific needs of infants.
  • Mental health workers and milieu coordinators provide routine patient care on the Rush inpatient and outpatient behavioral health areas. Besides receiving patient care training, mental health workers develop skills in milieu management, group management and other patient interventions in behavioral health settings.
  • Orthopedic orderlies assist nurses with lifting to safely maximize mobility of the orthopedic patients.
  • Nursing assistants are students enrolled in a nursing program who provide basic care and carry out routine procedures.
  • Surgical technicians serve as "scrub" assistants during operative procedures. These technicians attend a course of study on operating room procedures and complete supervised clinical practice.
  • Unit clerks are nonclinical personnel who facilitate communication on the patient care unit.

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What shift options are available?

With a variety of full and part-time positions available, Rush has shift options to accommodate many different lifestyles. Staff may work 8 hours, 12 hours, or portions of shifts. For many units, shifts begin at 7 a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m., or 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but some units have staggered start times. A weekender program and in-house registry are also available.

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Do you have a clinical ladder?

Yes. Staff nurses can advance within a unit while remaining at the bedside. The novice nurse enters Rush as a RN 1. At this level, the nurse is expected to provide care for several patients

Following consistent evidence of strong performance at this level, the nurse is promoted to a RN 2. At this level, the experienced nurse will not only provide direct patient care, but will coordinate the care of several patients and act as charge nurse.

Staff nurses who are excellent caregivers and consistently serve as peer mentors may be promoted to RN 3, providing role models and consistent clinical guidance. Each level of advancement is accompanied by a salary increase.

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Will I be required to rotate?

Most patient care areas at Rush require nurses to rotate to the evening and/or night shifts. However, the frequency and specific requirements are unique to each patient care unit. During the interview process, the unit manager will be able to answer this question more specifically. For the interested applicant, following orientation, some permanent evening and night shift positions are available to those who qualify based on previous work experience. Due to the nature of the clinical operations, there are a few areas that do not require off-shift rotations. However, following a sufficient orientation, there may be some "on-call" requirements.

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Will I be required to float?

Floating across units is an expectation and may be necessary from time to time in order to ensure safe and efficient patient care and is expected from nursing personnel. In order to minimize floating, unit managers closely evaluate and adjust staffing requirements. Also, our internal float pools (Women's & Children's float pool, PICU/NICU specialist float pool and general float pool) help minimize floating for unit-based staff. When floating is unavoidable, assignments are based upon the experience, skill set, and competency of the floating nurse combined with the acuity and work volume of the receiving unit.

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How can I apply to become a nurse at Rush?

If you’re interested in joining the nursing staff at Rush University Medical Center, apply online at

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What is the surrounding neighborhood like?

Rush is located in the Illinois Medical Center District, which includes John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, the University of Illinois Hospital, the West Side VA Hospital and the University of Illinois-Chicago. The area has much to offer in the way of dining and entertainment. To the southeast is the University Village neighborhood, known for its Italian cuisine and the University of Illinois-Chicago campus. To the north and east is the rapidly developing Gateway neighborhood, home to the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studio and other live entertainment. Randolph Street, to the north, is a thriving mixture of residences and businesses, and is home to many of Chicago's fine restaurants. All the medical centers and universities provide ongoing surveillance and crime prevention tactics, making this area one of the most heavily patrolled in the city. Additionally, the Chicago Police Department reports that the elevated train stations in the medical district are two of the safest in the city.

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