Anything good about CO nursing????? - page 2

After reading a lot of the previous posts, I haven't read too many good things about the health system in CO. Has anyone had good job experiences? I was thinking of moving to CO once I graduate,... Read More

  1. by   momoneymoprobs
    Well, I am not trying to recruit or anything but I have recently started a job at Denver Health. What an amazing place to work. The benefits here are incredible. I took a paycut to come here because I was in LTC but with all of the benefits they offer, it can't be beat. The company doesn't take out for SS but they do take 6% out of your check and put it in a retirement plan for you. They then contribute 9% of their money into that account for you. Another thing, I don't take insurance through them so they reward me with an $85/month credit. I put that into a flexible spending account. Everyone here is incredibly friendly and you really feel good about the care you provide. I have never been more happy. I hope this helped you guys out!
  2. by   melkev98
    I am a first year student in northwst CO. We have a pretty good hospital here and a even better one about 45 miles away in steamboat spgs. I have been a CNA for 5 years and during our clinical rotation I have to say I love it here. Yes, everyone has a shortage which makes it hard, but thats what we are going to school for right?
  3. by   CityKat
    I was raised in Colorado and have been looking at going back home. However, it's quite astonishing to know that Colorado is one of the "lowest" paying states in the nation for registered nurses. I was told by a nurse recruiter, that memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs is offering $21.18 and hour and a whopping $1000 per year for tuition reimbursement if you're part time and $2000 per year for full time. They're also building another hospital up north and plan to recruit from all over the nation and still pay between $20-$21 an hour for new grads.
    I understand the "you have to gain experience before you can be paid more" state of mind. However, some of us new grads are coming out with $50k or more in tuition debt. A few of the hospitals in Denver are only paying $24 an hour, but they have excellent benefits. Still, this is not much difference and the cost of living is higher. I know the shortage in Colorado is due to the poor pay scale they offer nurses. I have numerous friends who are RN's there and are working in other fields because of this. Yes, it's exciting to graduate from nursing school and start working. But for $20 an hour??? No way! It comes across like they don't "value" nursing and its ideals.

    When are the Colorado hospitals going to get the idea that making $20 an hour is chump change for someone who has a professional license and a university education? A friend of mine told me last night that if she were a graduating RN these days, she wouldn't take less than $30 an hour because of the high stress that comes along with nursing. She finally makes $34 an hour and ONLY because she is working in nursing administration in the mid west.

    Of course some will still argue the point of the cost of living is cheaper in Colorado and indeed, when comparing, yes it is true. But at the same time, rents and home prices are increasing. Colorado is not as cheap as it used to be. So how come rents and such are increasing, but a nurses wage isn't? Personally, I think that's appalling.

    A friend of mine just took a position in CS, Co as a nurse recruiter and called me just last night, to ask if I would like to work for her. Of course I told her based on the fact that they're only going to offer $20 an hour, regardless of the "quality" of living Colorado has, I can't do it. I'm worth more than that and so is my education. I also told her she should when she starts working full head in this new position to take a serious look at why Colorado is one of the lowest paying states in the nation and why they really have a shortage and what they need to do to change it.

    I know many people won't agree with me, but I have been checking out hospitals all over the nation to see where the best fit is for me. It saddens me, because my parents and brother still live in Colorado and I miss my mom and would love to be by her again. Even she has told me that making $20 is just not suffice for a registered professional nurse.
  4. by   darcyhughes
    I grew up in Colorado also and my family is there. I got my RN in Minneapolis and have been working there since. I do want to move back but am afraid to give up such a great job when I have heard things about the jobs in Colorado. There are a few things to consider. 1) in MN we have union dues and the state tax is higher. But the bennifits are better here and starting pay; New grad pay for me was $24. something + shift diff for nights. I currently make over 32.00 an hour. + CECs are provided and you get full pay for them, I had heard Colorado only gives partial pay for training. My sister-in-law is an RN there and is checking into a few things for me.
  5. by   BeccaRN1970
    I would find it VERY difficult to leave a union hospital & move to a non-union one! I have a coworker who moved here from MN & sees such a disparity......and the idea of a union here turns many people off!

    I don't want to discourage anyone from moving here & strengthening the field, but it is true, our wages are comparatively low! Better in Denver than Co Springs (it will be interesting to see how we handle the "shortage" with 2 new hospitals opening in a year...pay raise, perhaps????) but you also deal with the big city. I hear Poudre Valley has a nice hospital w/better wages; it's beautiful up there but more rural.

    I'm taking a sabbatical after 9 years of nursing to raise my kids. $24/hr for a prn position just isn't worth it to me for all the stress & hassles. (Oh, and BTW, I've NEVER had CE's paid for...WOW!)

    Housing here ISN'T cheap, and it's getting worse. It is a shame, CO is a beautiful place to live, but Pikes Peak don't pay the bills!
    Last edit by BeccaRN1970 on Mar 14, '07
  6. by   sddlnscp
    Yikes Becca, that is scary, especially considering that the Springs is going to be the best option for me to work when I graduate. Oh well, I guess since I am going into it for love of the profession, hopefully I will survive. Wish me luck! (I still have a little over a year left of schooling, so I'm on the up-hill climb now.)

    Darcy, let us know what your SIL finds out, I would be interested to hear!
  7. by   CraigB-RN
    One of the things that scares me about this thread is that people are grouping and stereotyping hosptials. It's not CO that is doing anything it is an individual hospital. It's not CO that pays a certain amount of $$$$. It's the hospitals. Because it is the "Hospital" salaries are open to negotiation.

    The philosophy and the focus of each hospital is diffierent. There are public and private hospitals, big and small. Everything from 250+ beds to small 15 bed hospitals. There are hospitals that cater to the patient and hospitals that are just trying to provide adaquate care.

    Don't base any plans on moving or your future on the information you get here. Do a lot of research on your own.
  8. by   rannah12
    I have to say that I think everyone is focusing on the eastern slope but I live on the western slope in Grand Junciton and I love it here there is something said about a peaceful and active life. This beautiful town has so much to offer, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and boating. This is a small town with a lot of the big city ammenities. Makes a great place to raise a family. The hospitals may not be the greatest but I know Community Hospital treats there employees awsome and makes for a great place to work. I suppose if your only priority is money then I guess Colorado isnt the place for you but if you want to have a nice place to work and live along with a great community to raise a family then GJ might be a place to live. Evaluate what your priorities are. Good luck from a Colorado lover.
  9. by   BeccaRN1970
    Quote from CraigB-RN
    One of the things that scares me about this thread is that people are grouping and stereotyping hosptials. It's not CO that is doing anything it is an individual hospital. It's not CO that pays a certain amount of $$$$. It's the hospitals. Because it is the "Hospital" salaries are open to negotiation.

    The philosophy and the focus of each hospital is diffierent. There are public and private hospitals, big and small. Everything from 250+ beds to small 15 bed hospitals. There are hospitals that cater to the patient and hospitals that are just trying to provide adaquate care.

    Don't base any plans on moving or your future on the information you get here. Do a lot of research on your own.
    Craig B,
    I agree with you <mostly>. Of course, you can't blame a state for what you aren't getting paid. (Although, coastal states generally pay better than central/midwestern ones.) However, in my town, we have 2 large hospitals which work together to keep wages down. And if you don't like it, tough, go to the other one. Because negotiations will only take you so far - they know you have no choice, if you want hospital nursing. And that's the best paying type of nursing job.

    Whether you are in it for the money or not, (And if you are, you chose your career poorly - I don't know any rich nurses), you still have to be able to pay the bills, or you need to find another job. That's what the wage complaint is about. Cost of living vs. wage. Whether you had a "calling" or not, nurses should demand more respect, and therefore better pay. There shouldn't be such a big disparity, especially for professionals.
  10. by   CraigB-RN
    I can't say I know any rich nurses, but I know plenty who are well off. They made choices as to location and job. By choosing critical care agency work I know a nurse that routinly makes greater than $110K a year.

    I'm a staff nurse and make $60K+/year and I rarely work overtime. Yes I do this working in CO, even in a big city. Yes I've been doing this for way to many years. However the $$$ is only part of the equation. I've got a great scope of practice here in CO and I work in a department were the Medical Staff lets me do what needs to be done to best provide for the patient. Is everything peachy keen all the time. NO. It would be nice if it felt like my manager actually supported me, instead of looking at me like a patch on a hole in a schedule.

    The origional question was is there anything good in CO nursing. I still respond to that question with a resounding yes. There is however many areas that could be improved. There is a problem with the salaries of the staff nurses not keeping up with hte starting wages of new nurses. However, with few exceptions I've run into this in every state I've worked in since I started this back in the late 70's.

    Like any job, carrer or life choice, it's about balancing the Pro's and Con's. If you want to live in the mountains, then you have to accept certain facts like cost of living and things like that.
  11. by   CityKat
    Understood somewhat. However, I don't agree with "if you want to live in the mountains, you have to accept...." This is a major problem in nursing and I'm no expert, but I have friends and family members who are nurses and so I hear about the issues first hand before I even started nursing school. Nurses have always "accepted" the way things are and this is "why" they are lacking the respect, better working conditions and lower pay than they deserve. Nurses DO NOT have to "accept" the way things are anywhere. Nurses should demand better pay and quite honestly, if they just "accept" lower pay, than they will always get lower pay. I don't care how beautiful Colorado is and what the style of living is there. I was raised there and lived there 24 years of my life. Colorado hospitals and nurse recruiters need to look at why they're having such a difficult time recruiting nurses from afar and also why their retention rates are so low. I think watching and using other hospitals as examples around the nation would be a good start for them, if they can't figure it out. I mean, it's simple really....

    Indeed each hospital is different and holds different values. But, when you have a main hospital, "rich" with funds building new and gorgeous hospitals and then trying to recruit new grads from afar as well as inside, you would think they'd have something "nicer" to offer. As an example, i have nursing friends that are coming out with over $50k in debt from loans and such. Why on earth would they take a job that's going to offer them $20 an hour with $2000 tuition reimbursement versus someone offering them $35 and hour, plus 50% or even in some cases over here, 100% tuition reimbursement? For the better quality of life? No way. You can have a great quality of living, but having debt hang over your head will cause you more stress.

    Anyhow, I do see both sides. But yes, regardless of knowing that nurses don't make that much money, it doesn't mean that nurses should sit back and "accept" certain things. Such as low, low pay like in Co., poor working conditions, high patient ratios, etc.
    No way.
  12. by   nursechris1
    I agree totally. I moved here two years ago from Nebraska, and I am disappointed with the cost of living and the wages. In Omaha, we lived in a nice, roomy, 4 bedroom house, that we sold for about 180,000. That won't even buy you a trailer here. My wages, when I moved here, were about the same as what I was making in Omaha.
    Yes, we moved here because we had always wanted to live in the mountains. It was a goal of mine for as long as I could remember. We like to ski, snowshoe, and hike. However, I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck. I love living in the mountains, unfortunately we chose a resort town to live in. I don't know if housing is better in other parts of the state, but we may have to move.
  13. by   roxyroo
    true...I hear the ER at memorial has hired lots of travelers to compensate for the loss of employees to the new North facility, but they also recently fired one of their experience rn's who incidentally had tried to initiate a union in Colorado Springs...coincidence? You be the judge; believe me, they will treat you however they want, and if you want to work in this town, you will put up with it.

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