Nursing FAQ

Nurse at Rush Copley Medical Center.

Nursing FAQ

Frequently asked questions about nursing at RUSH

Frequently asked questions about nursing at RUSH

Below, we answer many frequently asked questions about nursing at RUSH. 

Do you have Magnet status?

Yes. The American Nurses Credentialing Center has granted RUSH University Medical Center five consecutive Magnet designations. In 2002, the medical center 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. In 2006 and 2010, the medical center received redesignation and, in 2016, we received our fourth consecutive designation. The medical center received its fifth designation in October 2020.

RUSH Oak Park Hospital achieved Magnet designation in 2017, and RUSH Copley Medical Center achieved Magnet designation in early 2020. 

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 our nurses are active as volunteers in their communities and around the world. Achieving four consecutive designations demonstrates the sustained excellence that puts RUSH nurses in an elite category in nursing worldwide.

What is the nurse-to-patient ratio at RUSH hospitals?

The nurse-to-patient ratio varies from unit to unit, depending on specialty area and level of care. RUSH hospitals adhere 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 Care 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.

Can I do research at RUSH?

Yes. RUSH University is an integral part of our health system, reflecting our commitment to fostering centers of excellence in the medical and nursing fields. 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 in, learn about or conduct research.

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 departments offer a variety of educational programs designed to support clinical practice. These programs address nurses' ongoing educational needs and are tailored to each department.

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.

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. Minimum education requirements at RUSH University Medical Center and RUSH Oak Park Hospital require new hires have a BSN. RUSH Copley may hire ADNs with the expectation of completing a BSN within five years.

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 they 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.

What does the orientation process involve?

There are four components to orientation:

  • A one-day new employee welcome introduction to RUSH. This includes a morning orientation and an afternoon patient care system orientation.
    • RUSH Copley Medical Center has a two-day hospital orientation. 
  • A four-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 tailors specific clinical orientations designed to meet the individual needs of each new hire. The unit-based orientation is guided by a preceptor and may range from six to 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 or START nurses (RUSH Copley) will participate in a year-long Nurse Residency Program, accredited through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, designed to support successful transition from the role of student nurse to staff nurse.
What role do assistive personnel play?

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 our hospitals' 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 assistants help nurses with lifting to safely maximize mobility of our 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.
What shift options are available?

With a variety of full- and part-time positions available, RUSH hospitals have shift options to accommodate many different lifestyles. Staff may work eight 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.

Do you have a clinical ladder?

There is a clinical ladder structure at RUSH University Medical Center and RUSH Oak Park. The clinical ladder structure does not apply to RUSH Copley.

The clinical ladder works as follows:

  • Staff nurses can advance within a unit while remaining at the bedside.
  • The novice nurse enters RUSH as an RN 1. At this level, the nurse is expected to provide care for several patients.
  • Following consistent evidence of strong performance at the RN 1 level, the nurse is promoted to 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, becoming role models and providing consistent clinical guidance.
  • Each level of advancement is accompanied by a salary increase.
Will I be required to rotate?

Most patient care areas at RUSH hospitals 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 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.

Will I be required to float?

Floating across units is an expectation and may occasionally be necessary to ensure safe and efficient patient care. To minimize floating, unit managers closely evaluate and adjust staffing requirements. Also, our internal float pools 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.

How can I apply to become a nurse at RUSH?

We welcome all qualified applicants to apply to join the nursing team at RUSH. You may apply directly to any of our system hospitals:

In addition, you'll find some advanced practice opportunities on our provider and faculty recruitment website

Learn more about working at RUSH.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a nurse at RUSH.

What is the surrounding neighborhood like?

RUSH University Medical Center

RUSH University Medical Center is located in the Illinois Medical 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 (UIC). 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 UIC campus. To the north and east is the rapidly developing Gateway neighborhood, home to the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. Randolph Street, to the north, is a thriving mixture of residences and businesses, and is home to many of Chicago’s finest 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.

RUSH Oak Park Hospital

RUSH Oak Park is located in the nearby Chicago suburb of Oak Park. The area offers many food and beverage options, along with two elevated train lines (Blue and Green), the Metra Union Pacific West Line, and PACE and CTA bus lines.

Oak Park is a vibrant, diverse community with many shopping, dining and entertainment options. Known as the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway and as the long-time home base for architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright, it has a rich cultural heritage. 

RUSH Copley Medical Center

RUSH Copley is a hospital nestled on route 34 in the heart of Aurora, surrounded by residences and business. Aurora, also known as the "City of Lights" (one of the first cities in the nation to illuminate its streets with electric lights), is located 35 miles west of Chicago, along the Fox River.

Aurora encompasses 46 square miles, stretching over Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will counties, and has six public school districts and seven townships. Downtown Aurora hosts a variety of restaurants and entertainment options, and the Chicago Premium Outlets and Fox Valley Mall are nearby as well. Aurora also boasts numerous park districts, outdoor trails and recreational facilities.