Glad to be of help.
Working in CA for a year or two should be fine. By then you will have some experience and have an easier time finding a new job. It worked for me ok, and yes I worked psych in CA. Although, once you go to CA you may decide you don't want to come back! LOL
It's so beautiful out there and CA is the only states with mandated staffing ratios. (FYI the ratios laws only apply to hospitals, not freestanding psych facilities, so watch out). Patient ratios in CA are 1:6 for psych, and the hospitals out there HAVE to abide by the ratios or get hit with fines. FL is more of a free for all. Some places you are responsible for 8-9, 16 or up to 30 patients, depending on where you work. Yeah, you'll probably have a tech to help you but even with that the workload can get crazy, possibly even dangerous. Ultimately you are the one held responsible for what happens, even if you do have the help of a tech. If something goes down, it will be the nurse who is blamed for it. So pick your facility carefully.
On the GN / RN thing... maybe this will help you understand a bit.
A Graduate Nurse = a nurse who has graduated from nursing school
but has not yet gotten their license. Hence, you are not a "full-fledged" nurse yet.
A Graduate Nurse PROGRAM = an extended orientation program, usually yearlong, that attempts to bridge the (very large) gap between what you learn in school and the practical knowledge you will need to survive as a practicing RN. Note the word I use: SURVIVE. There is a HUGE adjustment period for first year nurses; in reality nursing school only gives you a fraction of what you are going to have to learn to manage working the floor once you take on a job. 1 in 5 nurses quits their first year
It can be done; these programs try to help and millions of nurses do manage. :wink2: The GN program is strictly for nurses in their first year out of school.
As for the pay scale, well, that's a dose of reality for you. Hospital administrators sometimes like to play games, and the #1 game is called "Pay the Employee A Little As We Can Get Away With." Which actually goes for pretty much all of corporate America, to be fair. Welcome to the Real World, I guess. Even though it would seem that a GN has "more" training, in reality the GN program is geared to get you "up to speed" to the supposed proficiency of an RN with experience. So they rationalize and pay accordingly for that difference in knowledge.
Of course, under the current hospital staffing models, NOBODY can realistically do everything that is expected of nurses. It's simply impossible to provide adeqaute, safe care to that number of patients. You can't divide yourself that many times. Hospitals know this, but use their corporate lawyers and Risk Management departments to wrangle out of liability issues and push the blame on someone else. It's all a big numbers game to them... and it's a terribly dangerous situation for the patients.
Nurses are the watchdog for the patient. In fact, that's a mandated responsibility from the board of nursing: to be the ADVOCATE for your patient. And sometimes that will mean running counter to administration / the hospital.
That's why the California nurses went to bat to get the ratios mandated. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself: California Nurses Association
Yes, that is a union organization, but don't let the label "union" scare you. In reality that organization is just nurses sticking together to PROTECT THE PATIENTS, and they have some darn good information on their site.
Direct care nurses sticking together is VITAL. Nursing administration really represents the interests of the hospital, not you. Now, a lot of the DONs do genuinely care about their nursing staff, the patients and are good people. And hospital staff do have to be mindful of the bottom line too, because if the hospital is not solvent, then guess who's out of a job?
But ultimately, the responsibility for protecting the patient lies mainly with the direct care nurse and we have a duty to uphold that. We have been granted INDEPENDENT nursing judgment by the nursing board. Which means standing up for the safety and well being of the patient, and standing up against administration, doctors or politicans if need be. If that sounds scary, it should. It's an awesome, sacred responsibility. We hold lives in our hands. Nurses need to stand up, quit bickering with each other and stand united to protect our patients' interests, just like doctors do with the AMA. Both patients and nurses will be better off for it.
Well, there I go again, long winded. Guess there's just a lot to say. LOL
Good luck to you in your new career. I hope it is everything you hope it to be, and more.