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January 16, 2012 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me about hospitals in Seattle!

The wife and I are doing our homework before we relocate to (probably) the Seattle area. She is a pharmacist with clinical and management experience, looking for similar positions at Seattle hospitals. If you've been a patient or (especially) worked at a Seattle hospital, we'd like to hear about the culture you experienced there, in terms of:

- staff/patient relationships ("healing hospital" type culture is a plus)
- pharmacy management/staff relationships
- interdepartmental relationships (esp. pharm/MD and pharm/nursing)

Also, anything you can tell us about the hospital itself (the building, the neighborhood, the business, history, walk/bike/public transport access, quality of the cafeteria food, etc.) would be great. Thanks!
posted by Chris4d to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have had really good experiences with the Swedish Hospital in Ballard.

The nurses are friendly and caring, and when I was there in the emergency room at 4am, they were gentle with the sleep-deprived patient and did their best to keep everyone in good spirits. The doctors all seemed to know what they were talking about and were very willing to explain what they were doing.

The hospital itself is off Market street in Ballard, which is kind of a shopping/entertainment area, so there's foot and vehicle traffic. Parking can be a pain-- there are parking garages, but street parking is always iffy in Seattle.
posted by lockstitch at 9:23 PM on January 16, 2012

I've also had good experience with the Swedish Hospital system, although I was at the branch on First Hill for surgery.
The big hospitals I can list off the top of my head are Harborview, Swedish, Virginia Mason, and Overlake Hospital in downtown Bellevue.
Harborview is a massive art-deco hospital on the south edge of First Hill, it's the regional emergency center so there's always helicopters coming in and out. The surrounding blocks are lower-income residential mixed with newer condos and some nice brownstone apartments. Its pretty unexciting but restaurants and shops are slowly creeping in from downtown and Capitol Hill. Like everyplace downtown it's transit friendly. Harborview has its own security patrolling the area 24/7 so contrary to its reputation as being dangerous, it's pretty safe. I parked my car on the street nearby for 2 years, regularly walked through late at night alone, etc and never had a problem.
Swedish is pretty much the same situation neighborhood-wise but the area is slightly nicer and closer to Capitol Hill to the north. There's more trees, coffee shops and big older homes along with a strip of stores and restaurants on Madison between the freeway and Broadway.
Virginia Mason is west of Swedish, but also on First Hill. Its situated behind the Washington State Convention Center and it's possible to reach the downtown core on foot in 5 to 10 minutes. The doctors and staff all frequent George's on Madison for lunch, it's a Polish deli and grocery with amazing $5 sandwiches. Virginia Mason's likely the best located, but the buildings all seem to be from the 1960's or older. My parents have gone there for various things and always had good experiences.
Overlake in Bellevue is big and new, but the east side isn't a great option if you dislike suburban areas. I went to the Overlake ER for a dislocated shoulder in 2001 and it took quite a while to be processed despite very few other patients (4 or 5 others in the ER area). Treatment was otherwise good and it's been expanded significantly since then.
Swedish and the University of Washington hospital systems have many other branches, notably on Cherry Hill to the east of downtown, South Lake Union, and the UW campus north of the city.
Cherry Hill is in the Central District which has a reputation as being a ghetto, but it's really just an older residential area that hasn't had much gentrification yet (though it's starting). It's not as attractive from a transit and amenities standpoint, but is likely a good investment for the future.
South Lake Union is formerly industrial, now full of condo highrises and startups along with the new streetcar line. The UW campus area is pretty but expensive, and can have higher petty crime due to the massive student population.
Reputation-wise, I'd put Harborview at the bottom, Overlake and UW in the middle and Swedish/Virginia Mason near the top. I've no idea how deserved those rankings are, it's just my general impression from growing up here.
Hope this all helps, and best of luck!
posted by azuresunday at 11:27 PM on January 16, 2012

I will caution you to investigate Swedish's HR practices and policies with a fine toothed comb and interview as many current staff as you can before signing on with them. While I consider their treatment of patients to be excellent, your experiences and an employee may be... less so. The term "draconian" comes to mind, but that may just have been the particular location I have experience with. That's all I can say on a public forum about that.

If you don't mind the commute, Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland has a good reputation among most health care workers as having a great relationship with its staff, and I can say as a patient that I specifically have chosen providers in their system because I like the care I get there. Everyone I know who works there loves it, and it shows in they treatment you receive. If I weren't currently on medical leave, I would be looking for a job there myself.
posted by evilcupcakes at 12:34 PM on January 18, 2012

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