From Durham NC — 06/06/2007
First off, this is a review of Duke Health System - not Duke University. They are two separate entities and have very different working environments. I work in IT, so I can't speak to the actual "healthcare" side of our business, such as nursing. I can speak to what it is like to support those folks.
Pay - Pay at Duke is not bad, especially considering they are a non-profit. You can't expect huge raises and there's no big profit sharing but overall I've found the pay to be pretty much average. The reason it gets a 3 is because you are basically guaranteed a raise every year, which is both a good and a bad thing.
Respect - neutral - depends on your boss.
Benefits - excellent! My paid time off is rarely beaten by other companies - the only ones that come close are other non-profits or academic institutions. Health care is so-so but they have a great 403b matching program. You can also get many discounts from area merchants because Duke is a "preferred" employer.
Job security - again, excellent. Both good and bad - you practically have to kill someone to get fired around here. However, this means that you will have many incompetent coworkers who should have been let go long ago. Instead, they get shuffled from dept to dept. However, you never really need to worry about being let go...even if your department downsizes, almost everyone is given a position elsewhere in the organization at equal or greater pay.
Work / Life balance - very good. This is highly dependent upon your boss but I've had very good experiences here.
Career potential/growth - not so great. Don't get me wrong - you can "climb the ladder" - but it can be difficult. Getting the right opportunities to demonstrate yourself is highly political, so if you don't like office politics, this isn't the place for you. However, if you don't mind that kind of environment, stay away from Duke.
Location - good. RTP is a nice place to live and the location is quite accessible.
Co-worker competence - not so great. There's a lot of "fat" here...people who just slack off because they know how to work the system. Either they don't know what they are doing, they know someone who got them a job, or they are just slacking off until retirement, it all adds up to a sometimes frustrating experience. There are a few shining stars but they usually don't stick around.
Work environment - neutral. I've seen some dungeons and I've seen some castles, depends on where you work since Duke is so big. However, all locations have basics such as decent networking, water cooler, clean restrooms, decent sized offices, etc.
To summarize, Duke is a good place to work especially if you are looking for a less stressful work environment (than corporate anyway) with ok salaries and lots of stability. It is great for someone supporting a family, given the amount of time off and other benefits. Politics can be extremely frustrating as can dealing with arrogant physicians or faculty. I would say it is great for someone in the middle of their career, looking for a place with a few opportunities but not a place where you are expected to work 80 hour weeks.