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opinions on nursing?

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by hushpup81, May 12, 2007.

  1. hushpup81

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    hello everyone! i'm currently working as an accountant, but considering switching careers and becoming a nurse. i have always had an interest in the healthcare profession, particularly working as an operating room nurse. however, i do not know any nurses so i have a few questions that i was hoping i could get clarified.

    first of all, what is the earning potential in a nursing career? i have been reading online the average starting salary of nurses, but i can not find the salary of a nurse with 3, 5, or 10 years of experience? does their salary not increase with experience?

    does going to a school that is highly ranked land you a better job than going to a school that is not as highly ranked?

    also, do nurses get health benefits and retirement plans? any opinions as to whether you would recommend nursing as a career are highly appreciated.

    thanks,
    hushpup
     
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  3. fab4fan

    fab4fan TiredRetiredRN
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    Your best bet would be to go to www.allnurses.com. You will find a wealth of information about nursing there, and the site is devoted to nursing. This site for the most part is geared toward meds students/interns/residents/docs, although they do have this forum for nurse related threads.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
     
  4. hushpup81

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    well, i know there are nurses that browse this forum and post messages. i would really appreciate if they would give me some advice. if they can answer some of my questions that would be great. i don't have any family in nursing or any friends. so if anyone on here is a nurse, has a spouse of a nurse, or a friend, and can give some information...that would be helpful.

    thank you
     
  5. fab4fan

    fab4fan TiredRetiredRN
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    I'd be glad to answer your questions. I simply suggested the other site because it is devoted to nursing issues and has a wealth of information. Also, things can get a bit, uhm, "testy" on this site as there are a few individuals with decidedly negative feelings about nurses. If you want to wade through some of those posts to get the information you need, that's your prerogative.

    I'm not sure why someone would insist on obtaining nursing info here when there are other sites that are better suited, but again, your choice.

    1. Earning potential depends greatly on where you live. Median income according to US Labor Statistics as of 2004 was $43,370 and $63,360. You can make more if you work as a traveler, but bear in mind that you do need some experience before becoming a traveler and need to work more than a 40/h week to make a higher end wage. Also be aware of cost of living. Sure, you may see high rates for places in NY and CA, but the cost of living may negate that great sounding pay.

    I hate to tell you this, but this is one profession where seniority strikes against you. Wages tend to flatten out after you've been in the profession for more than about 10y. If you've been in more than 20 like me, forget it. You get COLA, maybe a little bit for an annual raise on top of that, and that's it. And because they need to offer higher pay to attract new grads, you have newbies coming in sometimes making not much less than what experienced nurses make. I hate that. It's disrespectful, and it contributes to why experieced nurses leave bedside nursing...why kill yourself if you're not going to be reasonably financially rewarded.

    2. Employers care that you have a license or are eligible to take NCLEX. Years ago (and I am talking like way back, when I graduated), you'd hear coments like, "You can always tell a nurse who went to "X Hospital School of Nursing," and there were some regional biases toward one program v another. Now, I don't hear anyone saying that.

    3. Most places usually offer health insurance, but you have to pay to some degree. There may be a few rare places that offer full coverage free, but the norm is employee-contribution based health plans. Some can be expensive, and coverage can be good, fair, or crappy. Take this into consideration when you're looking at job offers.

    Most employers have some sort of employee contribution based retirement plan; whether the employer contributes is up to the facility. The hospital I work for will match your contribution up to 6%. But if you don't put anything into it, you get bupkis.

    As for whether I would recommend nursing, my first question would be why you want to be a nurse in the first place. It is not an easy gig. There were times it's been the best job I could have ever had, and there were times it's nearly broken me, physically and emotionally. I haven't made a lot of money as a nurse, not nearly enough for what I do and the responsibility I carry. It's not a job to get into if you think it's a fast way to make good money. If you have any inclination to do more than be a nurse, then I would definitely advise against it. There are lots of good reasons to go into nursing, but those aren't two of them.
     
  6. burntcrispy

    burntcrispy Member

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    I was a nurse but later decided to go to medical school. I think the poster above gave a good summation. If you want to know more you can PM me and I'll give you some of my views on your job change. I don't like to post much on these types of topics because they usually degrade into a heated debate and don't really lead the OP anywhere near getting the original question answered.


    Burntcrispy, MD
     
  7. zenman

    zenman Senior Member

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    I've done it for 32 yrs and money is not a reason to get in the field. Like fab4fan said, it can burn you up. I think there's more nurses getting out quicker now than before. I wouldn't do it again but would probably choose something health-related.
     
  8. caroladybelle

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    I would agree with Fab4, but then we are pals, with often similar minds.

    Pay rates vary greatly with areas and specialties. RNs working in an office, w/no weekends and no holidays, in the Southern areas may be doing god to get 12-20 an hour. Hospital rates may be more like 16-23 for new RNs, with benefits. But the same nurse can start at a NY or Boston facility for more like 24-30, as well as much better bennies (more paid education days, an hour break instead of thirty minutes, uniform allowances). However, the COLis high.

    Specialty nurses in more intense environments, after a year or two of experince or certification, usually are paid more. As an onco/hemo traveler, I get paid more for BMT units than Onco units.

    Benefits for fulltime include usually insurance, paid time off, educational reimbursement, retirement plans - in some areas, paid education days, reimbursement for board fees/certification, uniform allowances, etc. The bennies are usually better in areas w/high levels of unionization (NYC).

    As a traveler that does not work strikes, my payrate would probably be better if I were staff - especially if I added up for better insurance, PTO as a staffer. I have over 11 years in Hemo/Onco and 2 in ID. Of course as a traveler, I get "free" housing. However, if I do not want to be heavily and disproportionately taxed on the money spent to house me, I like most travelers have a tax home residence. So either way, I do end up paying for housing. Either in heavy taxes or maintaining my home. I also have to periodically go off the road and work to maintain that status.

    If you are a fairly new (2-5 years in) nurse, traveling will pay better. Strike nurses make big bucks, if that is the way you want to live your life (not me!!). But you will "pay" for it - they frequently require heavy OT, and you will have to deal with social issues.

    I do not necessarily work for the best paying assignments, and I don't do that much OT, and usually break 60,000, occasionally 65,000. However if you added in the housing that I had, it easily went over 70,000 - that particular year I made some bonuses.

    Traveling is tough. While everyone thinks it sounds fabulous, it requires a lot of patience, fortitude, and bane of my existance, paperwork. You try starting you life over every 3 monthes, chasing that special tests and licenses, for each new place, not to mention readjusting, and having to continually "prove" yourself. Fab can tell recently that I went to a city that sounded like a paradise assignment and it quickly became the nightmare from hell (worst in my life and that says a lot) facility. And I still had to grit my teeth, plaster a smile on my face and fulfill the 13 week contract. And I hated every minute.

    You must have at least one year working as an RN before traveling for patient safety and your safety, preferably 2-5.

    Pay Rates for experienced nurses tend to stagnant after about 7-10 years.

    No one really cares what nursing school that you went, except maybe in the immediate area. I have an ADN from a rather minor comm college (did Bachelor's work for another degree before nursing) and I have worked for good hospitals and been offered permanent positions after traveling at 3 facilities listed in the top Ten. What matters is how good you are at what you do, your enthusiasm and people skills.

    Nursing itself is a great career. If every department did what it is supposed to, if all the MDs did their jobs (med recs, dc orders, legible writing), if they patients did what they were supposed to, to get well....I would be dancing down the halls, with my spotless white dress and cap, carry a cup of pills, passing them gingerly, and giving everyone a nice backrub to make them feel better. If all I did was nurse as I was taught in school, life would be a joy

    But that never happens.

    The computers don't work, the meds won't scan in the emar (required 100% scan stats). All the therapeutic communications you were taught, med info, will not do squat when your 300lb, 6 foot 4inch patient in bilateral CPMs goes into DTs during a platelet transfusion, goes walking down the hall with the cpms still attached, along with part of the bedframe - rips out his IV spilling platelets to the floor and bleeding. The same patient that swore he didn't drink on admission.. Then you call an MD that gets ticked at being disturbed and orders Haldol 0.5mg PO for the pt.

    You do chart checks and cannot read half the orders. Several are ordered wrong in the computer because you had a float secretary. You have 3 DCs waiting to leave and not one of the MDs wrote: DC order/DC sheet/and/or reconciled the meds. Despite the fact that all of the forms were right on the chart on top of the orders where they could not be missed and only required a few quick check marks.

    You ask for 12 hour shifts because they permit consistancy in caregiving, and then you get floated to 3 separate units in 12 hours....on your first day off orientation. MDs call for up to the minute results and your code will not let you into the system on that unit. You are busily trying to sort through 18 different report sheets (6 patients each unit), and they are muttering about incompetence.

    They may make you wear a phone and a beeper and a locator. I clocked 55 phone calls in one shift, most from the thousands of friends/relatives/apssing acquaintances asking personal questions about A/O patients and therefore we are not permitted to answer them d/t HIPAA. Or trying to get "Bill" DC'd early, "because we know the president/CEO/CFO".

    Some administrative idiot pulls you off the floor to quiz you on CARE, the new press-gainey intiative for "customer care". They ask you the proper scripted response to the patient comment, "Why can't they hire some decent girls around here that speak English?". And makes sure that you have your "5 For 5" button on.

    And when you get to the end of shift to give report, well, the assignment changes twice while trying to give report. Plus ER sends a patient without calling report and it is always given to the traveler/agency/float nurse.

    I love nursing and love cancer care. It's the bean counters and the administrators that can kill enthusiasm.
     
  9. beans&flowers

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    wow this puts things in a different perspective. I guess this is why nursing is in such demand.....not many people would put up with all this.
     
  10. hushpup81

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    hey everyone, thanks for the response to my orginal post. your opinons are greatly appreciated. i did check out allnurses.com, and there is a lot of information on that website. however, your responses have given me great insight than the information i found on the other website.

    thanks!
     
  11. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    There are a ton of sub-specialties that can earn significantly more than the stated range, of course it requires additional training.

    -t
     
  12. fab4fan

    fab4fan TiredRetiredRN
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    And with each specialty comes its own set of unique problems. Surgery, for example; be prepared to deal with some people with major attitude. We've got a couple screamers and full-on temper tantrum throwers. Every day I go to work it reminds me why I'm glad I don't have kids, because I get to see how three year olds behave, only these three year olds are actually adults.

    Not all of them are like that. Some are really good at being teachers. I have to give a shout out to our own Kimberly Cox here, who I don't know, but was nice enough to give me some feedback regarding a clinical case I recently had. Would that all of our attendings be so responsive.

    And Therapist's point completely missed the boat: if you go into this for the money, you will be sorely disappointed. You're never going to be compensated for what you're expected to do and some of the abuse you take. If you're a guy it might be a little better, sad to say, men in nursing get treated better by docs than women as a general rule.

    If it sounds like I'm down on nursing, it's because we had yet another incident today that wound up affecting the morale of the entire staff. It's really getting old.
     
  13. alpha62

    alpha62 Banned
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    take the accounting exp. and go into Healthcare administration. You can still be around medicine and you get to lord over doctors. Probably not nurses though unless you are willing to hold a meeting in the smoking hut, kiss their rear end every 2 minutes and tell them how wonderfull they are just for doing their job.

    Way more money, way better hours, you can make everybody miserable and retire at 55.
     
  14. beans&flowers

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    About how much in HC administration? I always thought only the execs get paid the big bucks. Doesn't it take years? Do new graduates in HC admin. make more than nurses?
     
  15. alpha62

    alpha62 Banned
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    do so research. then do the math over lifetime earnings. You gotta start out as an admin flunky before you become an exec anyway.

    Not only that, when is the last time anybody on this site has seen some admin puke at their institution get sued, fined, or even blamed for a screw up ?

    The nurses stab each other in the back and eat their young. Ever go up against admin ? They circle the wagons and cover each others asses.
     
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  17. kubby83

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    Hey there,

    I am in the same boat as the thread poster, so this information has been a lot of help. I am thinking about doing LPN certification first at a comm college near me and then possibly going to RN after that. Any thoughts?
     
  18. zenman

    zenman Senior Member

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    I know of one Hospital CEO who had an affair with the DON and was canned...all very respectfully of course and he went on his way to another big cushy job. I don't think the DON did as well...
     
  19. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro

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    depends on the area, most LPN/LVN programs around here are 1yr long. many have agreements with RN programs, so there is a 1yr bridge to get your RN, so it is still only 2 yrs of schooling, aside from prereqs, although the LVNs in RN school can work part time as an LVN making decent $$$.

    RNs in my area go from $18-23hr to start, LVNs $12-15hr to start
     
  20. alpha62

    alpha62 Banned
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    Telling the truth will get you banned from this site:smuggrin:
     
  21. zenman

    zenman Senior Member

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    Jesus, that would send me in a tailspin...:eek:
     
  22. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro

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    actually cost of living is low and its here in texas, so $20hr/40Kyr is actually pretty good around here for a 2yr degree.
     
  23. mocj66

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    well, my mom been a nurse for like 12 years and she make 90,000+, so u can make more money as time increasing.
     
  24. PhysioMan

    PhysioMan 's Hater

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    "Nurse" is a catch-all for a lot of people. What I mean is that I know and have worked with CNSs, NPs, CCRNs etc. that just call themselves a nurse so this can be misleading. I would expect that over time the salary should increase mocj66. Also there be a larger/smaller salary depending on the setting (ED, ICU, Ward) and region (some parts pay CCRNs higher than NPs!) I suspect that $90K is GROSS annual income and your Mom (always capitalize) works alot of shifts (multiple jobs?) and/or in a higher acuity setting. I have also worked with Nurses in the practice setting that work for a specific Doc in a large group that make big bucks. They end up doing alot of scut work though and the MAs do VS, injections, etc.

    For comparison, a PA will make $75K average the first year of full-time work as soon as they start working in my region as a fresh grad. This is average, and runs the range from Primary Care to Surg/ED. So getting an MBA/MPA is not necessary to live comfortably. Nurses and PAs do all right...

    Note: I said "just call themselves..." not "call themselves just a nurse." I have a deep respect for nurses.:) :thumbup:
     
  25. chimichanga

    chimichanga misunderstood

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    All salaries on this board are presumed to be gross incomes, not net...


    I'm just a nurse, work three 12s, and will make six figures, NO overtime, and I'm not management or master's level...

    Been doing it 12 years now though...Not a high acuity setting either, a small community hospital.
     
  26. PhysioMan

    PhysioMan 's Hater

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    You make atleast $58/hr then Chimichanga. Nice job! Small Comm Hosp sounds good to me. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
    This is the years and exp factor with a specific region combo then. What is your background?

    I wish the gross vs net statement was true but Docs are the worst on this forum at exaggerating income. They often count Malprac and Office expenses as "income.":thumbdown:
     
  27. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro

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    :D :D :D :D
     
  28. chimichanga

    chimichanga misunderstood

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    No RAMPA, not southern california...Arizona, small town...22,000 people

    Really...

    I have a BSN, and do shift work as a house sup...I do days and nights, so a night diff is built in (like 8%)

    I stand somewhat corrected, as 58/hour is a little high...I am salaried, so I am paid for 80 hours...2-3 meetings a month, and with shift report, our shifts can be 13 hours...I rarely go over 80 hours, and am closer to 78 per pay period...

    no hiring, no firing, no evals...just house duties...easy job...love it...

    my income has increased nicely over the last 12 years, always making more at each job...

    You can have the NP/PA route...at least here, and in Phoenix, where I came from, the average NP/PA was making 80-90,000, working 5 days a week, w/ call...

    my (RN) buddy made 130,000 last year, averaging about a shift and a half of OT per pay period...There are many incentive and baylor programs out there, you just have to find them...

    cost of living here is cheaper than Phoenix, so I have the best of both worlds, as I live on a couple of acres, and nothing around me but quiet farmland...
     
  29. PhysioMan

    PhysioMan 's Hater

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    Nice Chimichanga. I am still confused about the salary but it sounds like you are very comfortable.:luck:
     
  30. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member

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    wow some of you RNs are making bank
    When I got a job out of my BSN (right after) I was making 22 bucks an hour and I thought that was a lot (when you have not made more than about 10 an hour previously). where are you guys/girls working that you make so much? I am in upstate NY. Ahh well doesn't matter now.
     
  31. PhysioMan

    PhysioMan 's Hater

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    $22/hr? LVNs make more than this in alot of places...:confused: GRNs needs to be paid more IMHO.

    OP: Hope you went to that forum that was suggested. But remember, don't take all the cyber-advice to heart. Get out in the real world and see it for yourself.:idea:
     
  32. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Actually, I've never seen that. It's certainly not common practice. "Income" is generally accepted as pre-tax net income after expenses. In other words, the amount that shows up on your W-2.
     
  33. PhysioMan

    PhysioMan 's Hater

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    I apologize for any disrespect. I meant to say that it is common in my neck of the woods. You da man Dr. Kent.:thumbup:
     
  34. AmericanDesi

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    I would recommend you(original poster) to apply to a fast track program...Thats also only if u already have a bachelor's degree in something. I'm starting this 1.5 yr fast track program this fall,(there are one year programs like texas tech) that way you can get in and get out.
    I would also recommend to get yourself a BSN rather than an rn diploma so if u ever decide to go back to school, you can right away.
     
  35. Quine

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    You should definitely look at your local area for wage surveys and programs. In my area LPNs make 15+, but RNs make 25+. The only advantage to getting the LPN first is to have that one summer of experience before you start the RN program, but that's only if you know you can get into the LPN-RN program. They may not have any spots or (as at my school) may have phased the program out. A bachelors program might be better still.
     
  36. AlleghenyPOD

    AlleghenyPOD 1st Year MD-bound

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    Agreed, my mum is a CRNA and easily makes upper 200s; pops is a regular OR/ICU RN and he makes mid 100s (and he works part time and baylor positions).
     
  37. ReblRose

    ReblRose Junior Member

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    The wages for an RN or LPN depends on the location of where you are working. And unfortunately, the pay doesnt increase tremendously with experience. For ex: I live in the southeast. I have been a nurse for 16 yrs......as a new graduate I started off at $12.50/hr.......... now here I am 16 yrs later and in a hospital with all my experience, I would start off at $23/hr if I was lucky, this is with my ACLS, CCRN and a BSN. New graduates now..... in the large city start off at $19.83/hr..............

    The gripe that I have is I have all these years of experience, and new grad make maybe $3/hr less than I do. It is not their fault by any means..... its the hospitals, the area, etc. My ex-brother-in-law works for a "home improvement" store driving a truck.... with only a high school eduation and makes $22/hr............. but yet, nurses help save peoples lives everyday.... have a college education, have sit for a state board, all of the blood, sweat and tears they went through in school, and make less than someone who delivers your bathroom cabinets.

    What is wrong with that picture?
     
  38. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member

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    Hey Rebl
    these examples of pay sound more like where I am from and worked (Buffalo, NY). I agree with you. It also makes me upset that people like Paris hilton who contribute absolutely nothing to society make 1 million bucks for one really really bad movie.
     
  39. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro

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    everything is F***ed up with that picture. im an RT student. (i know RT pay<RN pay), but i also have to gripe b/c i have a friend with a HS diploma and is a college dropout, now an ironworker APPRENTICE is making $23hr...WTF? "skilled labor" my a$$!!! hospitals nearby are offering $19hr ($23 for RNs, which is still BS compared to what my friend is earning)..even with a BSRC, ACLS, PALS, NRP, and NPS!...........total BS!!!
    i can live comfortably on $20/hr, but when some bodaggot w/o any education can earn the same or more w/o all the schooling and stress then it does upset you....:mad: (sorry to get off topic)
     
  40. Josh L.Ac.

    Josh L.Ac. MSA/LAc & BSN/RN --> AA-S

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    Agreed. My program runs from August to August [almost done] and so far my only real complaint is the lack of clinical exposure to other parts of nursing, such as critical care [but you can always do extra].


    I'm going to take a year of school and just work 3 12's in either ER or ICU + 2 8's doing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. During the year break I'll decide whether or not to go for FNP, CRNA, or [sigh] med school.

    If you have any desire to teach, there are governmental programs to pay for your school since there is such a critical lack of nursing educators.
     
  41. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
    Physician Gold Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved

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    Why? Some of the wealthiest people I know don't even have college degrees. They made their money in real estate and construction. It doesn't upset me at all...especially when they're buying the drinks. ;)
     
  42. eddie269

    eddie269 Still in shock...

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    I'm from SF and I have a few friends who are fresh grad hospital nurses. The pay rate in NorCal ranges from $50k-60k depending on dept. Every one of them (25 yr old females) work the graveyard shifts because the differential is worth it, especially since they're still young and able to do it.

    They all either graduated with a BSN from a 4 yr program or took a an accelarated 1 yr BSN program after their 4 yr science degree. Either way from what I'm told, pay and positions doesn't matter whether you have a BSN, Associates, etc.

    So far, they said it's fun but very exhausting and at times, just plain gross (yes, poop and vomit from drugged out bums at 4am aren't uncommon in downtown SF area). But they are all very happy being 25 yrs old and earning what they earn. They enjoy their careers and would rather not do anything else. Their debt from school is minimal (parents helped with undergrad and 1 yr accel. programs aren't too high).

    However, they're still young and just started their careers so things can change later on. But of course, not everyone can do nursing (me being one of them). I'm just not good with bodily fluids. :D
     
  43. burntcrispy

    burntcrispy Member

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    Yep. I've got a buddy of mine who never went to college, worked construction for a while then started his own company doing construction and real estate. He retired VERY wealthy at the ripe age of 32!!! This is why living in our country is so great. You can take a chance, put everything on the line and work your butt off and sometimes it pays off big time. I've got no problems with this and applaud the people who have the guts and determination to do it.

    As far as nursing goes, I always hated my job but never complained about the pay. Nurses get paid very well for what they they do.



    Burntcrispy, MD
     
  44. hunnybee24

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    Hello all,

    I was reading this blog and came across the term baylor positions. What is this?

    Thanks!
     
  45. core0

    core0 Which way is the windmill

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    The original Baylor program was two 12 hour night shifts either on Fri-Sat or Sat-Sunday. This paid the same as 36hours of straight time (no night or weekend differential). It allowed nurses to work 24 hours per week and get full benefits (the reason that it was 36 hours and not 24 hours with dif). This was very possible for working mother for child care reasons. It has now morphed and usually means 36 or 40 hours of pay for doing less hours in some undesireable position. For example one position posted was sat sun night 12's and mon-fri 5-9 for a total of 32 hours per week. This is paid for 40. Approach these with caution. You can usually make more with agency working less hours.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
     
  46. chimichanga

    chimichanga misunderstood

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    I disagree...

    I've done it twice...

    First was 16 hours (6a-1030p) sat and sun...paid for 40...Off M-F
    Second was fri, sat, sun, 12 hour shifts, ALL at time and 1/2

    Both offered health care benefits and PTO...Agency usually doesn't, and you can get canceled...

    I have a friend who does 16 hours Monday, and 16 hours Thursday...gets paid for 40 hours...Baylor is much better than agency...
     
  47. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    If that makes you mad....you should look at what an investment banker makes. I'm not saying what they do is easy (it is not), but with a 4 year degree...I know people who get BONUSES in the low to mid-6 figures, and make another couple hundred grand a year as a base.

    -t
     

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