The 10 Leading Companies to Work for as a Nurse

nursing schoolsFortune magazine’s Best Companies to Work For list for 2011 included 12 different health care providers, not a surprising number considering the growing need for health care in the United States. In order to diagnose and treat patients, health care institutions must successfully recruit, satisfy, and retain the very best employees, most importantly registered nurses who have the most direct contact with patients. Those top employers in the field of health care have a few common aspects: low employee turn-over, highly rated employee benefits, and a culture that fosters appreciation and accountability. Here are the top 10 workplaces for nurses in the United States:

#10. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital appeared for the first time on this list, ranking 80 out of 100 companies. In spite of a slight dip in job growth, this hospital employed over 3,500 staff in 2011 with nearly 30,000 applicants. In addition to making a contribution to this renowned institution, staff members have paid sabbaticals, subsidized gym memberships, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities, but what sets this place of employment apart from other hospitals is the organic vegetables staff enjoy from an on-site garden and up to $3,600 tuition reimbursement.

#9. Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas

Moving up the list from its previous ranking of 85, Arkansas Children’s Hospital ranked 75 out of 100 companies in 2011. Employing over 3,750 staff, Arkansas Children’s Hospital had a 2 percent job growth for good reasons. As the only pediatric hospital in the state, this hospital is dedicated to its employees, providing them with onsite childcare, a 20,000-square-foot fitness gym, and a defined-benefit pension. The most common salaried and hourly positions at this care center are in the field of nursing, both averaging over $60,000 annually. Contributing to the work-life balance the hospital strives to create for its employees, Arkansas Children’s Hospital has a job sharing program, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities.

#8. OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio

Although OhioHealth experienced a slight drop in ranking from the previous year’s list (moving from 46 to 62 out of 100), this institution has a lot to offer employees as its growth alone suggests. One year’s growth of 4 percent brought OhioHealth’s list of employees to over 12,500. The benefits and pay reflect OhioHeath’s esteemed position in the ranking; the most common salaried position is nurse manager, averaging over $100,000 annually, and the most common hourly position is staff RN, averaging more than $85,000 annually. OhioHealth also boasts a long list of perks: onsite child care, an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, telecommuting, and a compressed work week. Above and beyond these benefits, the hospital also offers free concierge service, health insurance for part-time employees, and 10 days of paid paternity leave.

#7. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

Just ahead of OhioHealth and ranked 61 out of 100 companies, Mayo Clinic also experienced a slight drop in ranking from the previous list (down from 55). In spite of slowed job growth (negative 1 percent for the year), Mayo Clinic still had nearly 38,000 applicants because of its reputation and positive culture. For example, the staff at Mayo gives back to the greater community, using vacation time, days off, nights, or weekends to help care for patients in underserved communities locally and abroad. Employee benefits at Mayo Clinic include onsite child care, an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities. Additionally, Mayo Clinic has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and offers domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.

#6. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia

Moving from 74 in the previous year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta beat out OhioHealth and Mayo Clinic for the 60 spot in 2011. Although this facility has experienced a dip in job growth, its dedication to children and families remains clear; they offer generous adoption and fertility benefits and pay a $1,040-a-year child care subsidy. These benefits are in addition to onsite child care, an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities. Registered nurses, the most common hourly position at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, make an average of more than $64,000 annually.

#5. Atlantic Health in Morristown, New Jersey

Racing through the ranks, Atlantic Health jumped from 81 the previous year to 54 out of 100 in 2011, thanks in part to generous pay and growing job growth. Nurses earn more than $84,000 on average annually, and the hospitals in this system provide onsite child care for employee’s children and grandchildren. In a single year, Atlantic Health had a 5 percent job growth, employing more than 7,000 people. Employees also have an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities. Like Mayo Clinic, Atlantic Health has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and offers domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.

#4. Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables, Florida

In spite of a loss in the rankings (slipping to 42 from 32 out of 100), Baptist Health South Florida, south Florida’s largest private employer, is growing by leaps and bounds. In the past 2 years, the staff increased by 17 percent with the majority of new hires coming from employee referrals and more than 1,000 employees returning after working elsewhere. Applicant submissions also suggest that Baptist Health South Florida is creating a positive workplace: almost 150,000 people applied for 869 positions in a single year. Employee benefits include onsite child care, an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities.

#3. Scripp’s Health in San Diego, California

Investing in training and education (to the tune of $30 million in 2010) has paid off for Scripp’s Health, moving to 37 out of 100 in 2011. Every employee, from new hires to senior managers, participates in at least one learning program a year. The result of this programming is a knowledgeable, professional, and cohesive staff. Nurses earn over $110,000 annually on average, and employee benefits include onsite child care, an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities. Scripp’s Health also has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and offers domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.

#2. Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth, Ohio

This rather small institution has soared through the rankings, rocketing from 63 to 36 out of 100, in part because of tremendous job growth and an appreciation of employees. With just over 2,000 employees, Southern Ohio Medical Center increased its ranks by nearly 20 percent in one year. These employees are valued and their ideas are respected; at their suggestion the medical center turned National Nurses Week into a community-service event, collecting funds for a local charity. Southern Ohio Medical Center offers an onsite fitness center, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities, as well as a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.

#1. The Methodist Hospital System in Houston, Texas

The Methodist Hospital System ranked 19 out of 100 companies in 2011 primarily for its exceedingly low staff turnover rate. More than 17 percent of the workforce had 15 or more years of service. Patients come from all over the world to be treated at the Methodist Hospital System, and the staff has a deserved sense of pride for their high reputation. Administrators have also found creative ways to combat burnout and show appreciation: nurses self-schedule, choosing from a variety of flexible scheduling options, and biannually the hospital honors about 20 employees with money or paid time off for exemplifying the hospital’s virtues. In addition, the Methodist Hospital System offers an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym memberships, job sharing, a compressed work week, and telecommuting opportunities.

These 10 institutions demonstrate that creative approaches to the work-life balance, positive climates, and a range of benefits foster success.