I don't know if you got the answer to your question regarding southern Illinois hospitals or not. I live in the southern IL area, and I am also a new nursing grad, so maybe I can offer some insight. Hearland Regional...relatively new, having been built in 2002. It's located in Marion, IL which is an up and coming small town in this area. I did one of my clinical rotations in OB there, and had a good experience with it. Having said that, though, I have heard many rumors that it is not a great place to work. Lots of turnover and unhappy employees. I've also been told that the care on the med-surg floors isn't terribly good. I have, however, heard that the ICU is good with very professional staff. I know for a fact that they had a HUGE incident there last year wherein an infant was discharged home with the wrong family (!!!!). That happened many months after I had already done that clinical rotation there, but the reverberations from it are still talked about. Personally, I would not work there, but that is just me.
The other 3 hospitals that you listed are all part of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Corporation, headquartered in Carbondale IL. I did most of my clinical rotations at Memorial Carbondale, and I think it is a great facility. It has all the major patient services, a solid reputation for professional patient care (with especially high marks in their birthing center and open heart program with the on site Praire Heart Institute). I had won a scholarship
through SIH, and so I owe them employment time. I have a job lined up and waiting for me as soon as I take the NCLEX, and it will be at Memorial-Carbondale. It's also affiliated with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In short, great place with a great reputation.
Herrin Hospital...another SIH facilty in Herrin IL. It's a small community hospital with a new med surg wing. I did one rotation there and thought it was a pretty good place. Most of the staff were really professional and delivered great care (but one or two were simply awful..then again, there will always be people like that no matter what facilty you go to). In short..it's a smaller hospital with a good reputation, undergoing some expansions and renovations in the near future. Would probably be my second choice for a place to work after MHC.
St. Josephs...another SIH facility. Small hospital in small community. I didn't do any clinical work in this one, so I don't know that much about it. I know one or two people that work there, and they love it at that facility. I haven't heard anything bad about it, except that it is a very small hospital.
VA-Marion...This one is obviously a federal facility. I did my last med surg rotation here, and thought that it was a neat place. It is an older facility, but very well maintained and I think the care there is quite good on the medical wards. They had a huge issue about 2-3 years ago with a surgeon at the facility...had several post surgical deaths attributed to this guy (I'm not sure of the reason..post operative infection I think, but I don't know that for sure). I don't know the whole story on this, but I've heard that there were issues with his medical license in other states that weren't investigated, etc. Again, I don't know but it has caused them to investigate this facility and stop it's inpatient surgery program indefinitely. They are just now starting to resume some minor same day procedures. Nonetheless, I had a good experience there on the floor. I've heard that the benefit package and pay for an RN at a VA facility are terrific. The RN's I worked with there during my rotation said it was a great place to work. I might work there if I didn't already have an obligation with SIH.
I hope that helped a little bit. Good luck, and I hope that you find that you enjoy southern IL.