Sunday, June 23, 2024

Best Places to Work 2023: Willis-Knighton Health System

by BIZ Magazine

As a health system that is headquartered in north Louisiana, Willis-Knighton Health System has deep ties to this region and has since 1924. Willis-Knighton traces its roots to Tri-State Sanitarium, founded in that year and to early doctors J.E. Knighton and J.C. Willis. Today, as a not-for-profit healthcare organization, Willis-Knighton includes Willis-Knighton Medical Center on Greenwood Road, Willis-Knighton South & the Center for Women’s Health on Bert Kouns near Mansfield Road (Louisiana’s first satellite hospital), WK Pierremont Health Center on Youree Drive, the James K. Elrod WK Rehabilitation Institute on Line Avenue and WK Bossier Health Center located off I-220 in Bossier City. The James K. Elrod WK Innovation Center in Bossier City is the health system’s training site and includes a virtual hospital. It is also home to the Talbot Medical Museum. The Oaks of Louisiana, the health system’s senior residential community, offers independent and assisted living options as well as skilled nursing care. 

With a focus on providing care throughout the community, the Willis-Knighton Physician Network offers clinics throughout Shreveport-Bossier. These are supplemented by seven WK Quick Care locations that serve patients from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. A focus on innovation and leading edge care throughout the health system has brought many firsts in healthcare to the region, from innovative heart and eye surgery techniques to Louisiana’s only site for proton therapy for cancer patients. 

With 7,200 employees, Willis-Knighton is the largest nongovernmental employer in our region. Employees at Willis-Knighton enjoy a rich array of benefits including a defined benefit retirement plan paid for entirely by the health system. The dedication of employees reflects the health system’s mission of caring for the health and well-being not only of patients at Willis-Knighton hospitals but of the entire community. 

In 1979 the board of trustees of Willis-Knighton established a tithe the bottom line philosophy of philanthropy, reserving a minimum of 10% of the health system’s revenues to support worthy projects and programs. These target healthcare, humanitarian services, education and quality of life issues in our community.

What the employees have to say:

“I attribute my success to my amazing work family. No matter how hard my day gets, they always reassure me the reason why God called me to do this job.” – Chelsea Broussard, RN (Willis-Knighton Medical Center) 

“The nice, friendly atmosphere makes Willis-Knighton a great place to work. I enjoy my coworkers and enjoy what I do. The benefits are great, too, especially the sick pay.” – Delma Fuggins, outpatient admitting, (Willis-Knighton Medical Center) 

“I have been with Willis-Knighton almost 14 years. … WK is truly a wonderful place to work. In addition to the great benefits such as health, vision and dental insurance, they offer a nurse residency program for RNs with one year or less experience. WK promotes and encourages advancement from within and they encourage educational advancement through its tuition assistance program. They also offer the opportunity to increase your pay through educational opportunities. Administration is so supportive and encouraging, and we have such an awesome team here that I actually look forward to coming to work every day.” – Denise Brady, RN (WK Pierremont Health Center)

“Willis Knighton makes you feel like you are member of a community. This was important to me because I am not from this country. You don’t just work for Willis-Knighton, you gain a family. Since I’ve worked at Willis Knighton, I’ve gained many new brothers and sisters” – Imane Marguez, RN (WK Pierremont Health Center)

“I love the fact that nurses, therapists, case managers, social workers and physicians work together as a team for the good of the patient.” – Patricia Baker, RN, wound care/patient safety officer (James K. Elrod WK Rehabilitation Institute)  

“I have been here 40 years. Willis-Knighton’s always been good to me. They’ve always worked with me to have work life balance. I’ve never wanted to go anywhere else.” – Linda Stokes, RN (Willis-Knighton South and the Center for Women’s Health)

“Willis-Knighton is a great place to work because we are family and the benefits are great. There is plenty of opportunity for advancement. I began as a tech, then became a unit clerk and now am an RN, all thanks to Willis-Knighton. Also, I feel like administration has our back.” – Ashley Whitaker, RN (WK Bossier Health Center) 


Current CEO/President: Jaf Fielder

Current Employees: 7,000+

Average Employee Tenure: 12+ years

Culture: Culture focuses on family dynamic and teamwork required to sustain a high level of patient care and healthcare and well-being for our community, with a focus on support for each other. Because we are a local hospital, employees understand that the decisions made about the future of the health system and its workers rest squarely on the shoulders of people who live and work in our community. This gives them the confidence that they are working for people who understand what is happening in our region and who can relate to their needs and the needs of the community more effectively than companies controlled by out-of-town executives and boards. The knowledge that they are working for a not-for-profit organization gives a sense of purpose that is special. Employees know that they not only work to care for patients but to care for the community. It’s an awesome responsibility that sustains the work of Willis-Knighton and its spirit of collaboration throughout the area.

Vitality: Willis-Knighton is focused on continuous improvement and advancement as evidenced by its high rankings from third party organizations such as Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and CMS. These rankings for quality are complemented by evidence of financial stability in an environment where many hospitals across the nation are laying off staff. Coupled with this focus on quality and performance is Willis-Knighton’s financial stability as verified by national ratings agencies such as S&P Global. Willis-Knighton was among 14 health systems identified by Becker’s Hospital Review cited “with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions, according to reports from credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global.”

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