Why Culture is Critically Important to Healthcare Job Seekers

Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP-BC

As a nurse practitioner, I’m bombarded with job opportunities. If I’m not being tweeted at, emailed, or called by a recruiter on a given day, I expect a postcard in the mail. Otherwise, I might start to think the zombie apocalypse has arrived. I’m quite fortunate to have chosen a high-demand career, but sometimes the number of potential opportunities can be overwhelming.

Early in my career, I developed a short method to evaluate potential jobs. This method goes beyond just comparing salaries and benefits; it assesses each job opportunity for its company culture, hospital ranking, and community involvement. In this article, I share my secret to whittling down the job solicitations by examining the true value of each opportunity.

Company Culture

What is the company’s culture? I’m not talking about what the company says about their culture. I’m talking about their real culture. Every healthcare organization likes to proclaim they are patient-centered, innovative, and at the cutting-edge. They may tout a progressive mindset with good work-life balance, but how do they really treat their employees?

To assess the company culture, consider reaching out to current or previous employees on LinkedIn. You can ask them questions about their hours and whether they feel respected by their managers and other clinicians. Always look at the company’s executive leadership and advisory board. Look at how the company treats all its clinicians regardless of background. Examining how a hospital treats its employees as a whole will give you an honest glimpse at its values. Are allied health professionals included as part of the healthcare team? Some hospitals have gotten rid of physician parking lots and lounges, replacing them with provider lots and lounges that are now open to both nurse practitioners and physician assistants as well. Changes like this demonstrate a progressive culture.

Don’t forget to check out the company on the Internet. Look at their social media profiles to see their level of involvement. Who are they following, and who are they engaging with? Look for company reviews and ratings as well.

Hospital Ranking

How does the hospital or facility compare with others? Is the care safe and effective? Before accepting a job, I always look at the company on the U.S. News and World ReportHospital Compare, and Leapfrog. U.S. News and World Report will show reveal how a hospital ranks relative to others in any given medical specialty. A high ranking shows that a hospital invests in resources and can attract top talent.

Both Hospital Compare and Leapfrog will reveal the quality of care provided by the hospital. These resources aggregate patient experience ratings and quality measures such as post-surgical complication rates, appropriate use of antibiotics, and readmission rates and deaths. When evaluating future job opportunities, I know I want to work a hospital that is delivering evidence-based care with positive patient satisfaction.

I also determine whether the hospital has earned Magnet status— an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC) to hospitals that have a strong, high-quality nursing team. Nurses comprise the largest group of clinicians in any given hospital. Their strength, knowledge, and quality has rippling effects across the entire company.

Community Involvement

Finally, before choosing a job in healthcare, I like to understand how involved an organization is with its local community. A good hospital is genuinely invested in public health initiatives. You can usually look at the company’s website for more information about their community involvement. Look for hospitals that provide annual flu shot drives or dental vans for low-income areas.

Landing a great job involves more than getting an offer and earning a paycheck.  It is important to research a company before accepting any position. The company’s culture, rankings, and community involvement reflect their dedication to providing the best patient care.  In the end, organizations who value these criteria more than others will be the best places to work!

The Take-Away

Your ability to comprehensively investigate a company’s culture may be limited, but when coupled with the exclusive insight of your MedSource recruiter, you will be in a far better position to decide if this fit is right for you.  Your future self will thank you for it.