East Washington/Idaho nurses - page 2

DH and i have DECIDED today. Its FINAL. We are going to move to East Washing or Idaho. We are thinking of living in Spokane WA, Post Falls ID, Couer D'alene ID or thereabouts. I need to find out... Read More

  1. by   TreceRN
    Originally posted by kids-r-fun
    Vancouver, Washington

    <20 minutes from Portland, Oregon and 8 hospitals (and the WSNA has been very effective here at Vancouver's 1 hospital). 2 hours to mountains or ocean. 4 distinct seasons, milder than Eastern WA, dryer than Puget Sound. Good schools, decent cost of living, all of the *perks* of living close to a big city with almost none of the hassles. We do have a sales tax (OR has an income tax) but our schools don't have to end the year early because the districts are out of money.

    Spokane is, and has been as long as I can remember a depressed area.
    Just to add my two cents for southern Washington, I live just a little ways north up the freeway from Vancouver and south of Olympia. Our community hospital is also WSNA (closed shop) and we settled our contract last year for a 21% increase spread out over 3 years. Starting wage is 19.80 base and tops at 30.84. We also have shift differential of 3.50 an hour for nights and 2.95 an hour for evening shift, double time after two hours of OT, and time and a half for any extra shift worked above your FTE. Our turnover ratio is only 5% (I think national average is still 11%). However, that doesn't leave us with many openings. My unit only has was open position, which was just posted Tuesday. We do have a few openings in ED - seems there's still a lot of burn-out in that specialty.
  2. by   jenccrn
    I happen to be one of the nurses from "the other hospital". Yes, we did recently vote down the union and although there may be some who disagree, most believe this was definately the best choice (myself included). We did take a 9% paycut, along with all the other dept's in the hospital. But I feel confident things will turn around soon.

    As far as your decision to move to Spokane, I would not let one persons very negative view to persuade you to completely take this are off your list of potential places to relocate. We too moved here a couple of years ago and I have worked in both of the "larger" hospitals. As a matter of fact there are 5 hospitals in Spokane and numerous clinics most of which are unionized if that is what you prefer.

    As far as money is concerned, if you are used to wages in the south you will find Spokane's wages much better (even with the 9% paycut). There is also pretty good variety. Most of the nurses I work with are exceptional and most of the physicians are great to work with.

    The most amazing thing about living here is the way of life. There is so many things to do and see, you will never be bored. It truly is a beautiful place.

    Just wanted to let you in on a little different perspective.......
  3. by   CougRN
    Well I grew up in Spokane and attended the Intercollegiate College of Nursing (ICN) the name changed. And Gonzaga is apart of ICN too by the way.

    Starting wages one year ago at the two large hospitals we 19.50$ an hour or so. I don't know what starting wages all over the country are but that was pretty good when I graduated last year. I took a job in Phoenix, AZ instead and started at a lower wage.

    Now the thing to really consider is cost of living. Spokane's cost of living is way below the national average. You can still buy a 2000 sq. ft home with property for under 150,000 dollars. Try to do that in Seattle or Portland. Spokane has 500,000 people in the country and about 300,000 in the city limits. It is a great place to raise a family and the weather is 10 times better than the west-side. You get all four seasons and there are always things to do outdoors. The local public school system is very good and there are a couple of private schools too.

    So take everything into consideration before you make your choice. I have lived in Portland, Vancouver, Dallas TX, Phoenix AZ, and Spokane. I can tell you that you will be hard pressed to find a great town like Spokane in the rest of the country.
  4. by   SnowymtnRN
    The issue for us not moving there to Spokane is that we haven't received any calls. So we are going to Casper Wyoming for now. I think if it doesn't work out for whatever reason we'll pursue Spokane more aggressively. I agree with whoever said its great weather, all seasons, and the low cost of living. We just have to have them call us for jobs!
  5. by   vettech
    Originally posted by CougRN
    Well I grew up in Spokane and attended the Intercollegiate College of Nursing (ICN) the name changed. And Gonzaga is apart of ICN too by the way.

    Starting wages one year ago at the two large hospitals we 19.50$ an hour or so. I don't know what starting wages all over the country are but that was pretty good when I graduated last year. I took a job in Phoenix, AZ instead and started at a lower wage.

    Now the thing to really consider is cost of living. Spokane's cost of living is way below the national average. You can still buy a 2000 sq. ft home with property for under 150,000 dollars. Try to do that in Seattle or Portland. Spokane has 500,000 people in the country and about 300,000 in the city limits. It is a great place to raise a family and the weather is 10 times better than the west-side. You get all four seasons and there are always things to do outdoors. The local public school system is very good and there are a couple of private schools too.

    So take everything into consideration before you make your choice. I have lived in Portland, Vancouver, Dallas TX, Phoenix AZ, and Spokane. I can tell you that you will be hard pressed to find a great town like Spokane in the rest of the country.
    At this point, almost nowhere has truly been taken off the list. However, the closer I get to graduation, the more reality is starting to bonk me on the head. I have serious doubts I will have the money to make the big move far from here.

    At this point, I'm leaning toward finding somewhere within about a day's drive of here that I can tolertae and rethink the big move to my 4-seasoned mountains city in a couple of years.

    However, I may yet find a way to at least come up that way and explore. I recently came in contact with a "long-lost relative" down in Moscow, ID. That would make for a good jumping-off point to explore the area.
  6. by   Mickee
    Was just reading the posts and couldn't help but put my 2 cents worth in too. Just graduated and started at a hospital in north central Idaho (near Moscow) where base starting wages are about $18.75/hr. The trade-off is the lifestyle (mountains, beautiful Ponderosa pine, plenty of fresh air & room to roam) and low cost of living. Spokane is the largest city for hundreds of miles and has alot to offer. In Idaho & Eastern WA the bigger cities are like an oasis (since there's so few of them), so you get some of the benefits of city life but with a very rural flavor.

    I was raised in Western Washington and have lived several places in WA and also ID. Can tell you it would be worth your while to at least see the area within about a 100 mile radius of Moscow...Think you'd love it. We do have winter but snow is so dependent on the elevation...and this country is full of hills and valleys.

    Good luck in your search for an area you'll enjoy!
  7. by   kimmicoobug
    I heard that there is a temporary hiring freeze at the hospitals right now. I heard this today while talking to a doctor. Since my hospital is affiliated with the hospitals in Spokane (Providence? Sisters of Providence...I don't remember) it looks as if we may be headed down the same road. Can anyone verify this for me?
  8. by   lindarn
    I don't know about a hiring freeze all over Spokane, but I spoke to some friends who work at Sacred Heart and what has happened is (contrary to the above post from the nurse from "the other hospital", many other nurses were not so pleased with the pay cuts), large numbers of nurses from Deaconess, who WEREN'T happy with their pay cut, & other issues with Empire Health's anti- union feelings, left & took virtually all open positions at Sacred Heart & Valley Hospital (the other Empire Health hospital that DID unionize with SEIU 1199), and Holy Family, which is operated by Sacred Heart. My friend, & the other nurses at Sacred Heart are rather unhappy about this turn of events, because this is a contract year and they were hoping to ask for a substantial pay raise due to the nursing shortage. They will probably get squat IMHO. WSNA has been worse than worthless after "care redesign" took over in the 90's (they were never outstanding, they just got worse). The rest of the hospital unionized with 1199 last year, (RT's, secretaries, techs, etc), & got substantial raises. My guess is that the RT's & techs will be making more money than the nurses.

    My suggestion is to would be, as my above thread stated, to skip Spokane and move to Seattle. While some cost of living is less than other areas, the rest is not. The pay here doesn't support the rest of the cost of living. Gas, for example, is considerably more than it is in Seattle. Housing, which is important, is not the only consideration. One still has to make enough money to save up for a down payment. The starting salaries are low, raises are miniscule, benefits are less generous, employment for spouses is slim, unless they are minimum wage -no benefits, service industry- like career- type people (waitress, nurse aides, gas station ), and entertainment is almost non- existent. There is nothing to do here! It is a cow town!

    And lets not forget Spokane's less than cordial feelings about nurses- you could have 10 college degrees after your name, but as long as one of them is "RN", you are nothing more than blue- collar white- trash "hired help" to the public. They have a strong dislike-distrust of those who moved their from big cities, large hospitals, especially from the east coast, California, and even Seattle. If that is what you want to work in, come to Spokane. don't say that I didn't warn you. Many new grads are movng to Seatte, Portand, California to get away from Spokane and not just nurses. There few jobs, industry, for college graduates here. It is frequently lamented here in the papers, that young people have to leave Spokane to get good jobs after they graduate from college. This is not a college- graduate type of city. As I said above, if all you are interested is low- paying, minimum- wage, no benefits type of employment, Spokane is the place to be. And doctors are still the un- disputed king over nurses.That is not just my opinion, but of many others who seek a better life for themselves and their children through higher education that is available in other cities in Washington, and other states throughout the country. The problem with Spokane is that too many people have lived here their whole lives and think that the world revolves around Eastern Washingon. They are suspicious of anything that is "differant and knew" and prefer to leave life "the way it was". I found that to be true, especially in nursing. Nursing was in the Stone Age when I moved here 14 years ago, and the attitudes of the public, and nurses hasn't change that much.

    Anyway, I hope that this answed your question about why their are few nursing jobs in Spokane and any others about where you should start your career in nursing.

    Lindarn
  9. by   SnowymtnRN
    The problem with Seattle is the weather. it rains WAY too much there, and my husband gets seasonally depressed, so that would be way too much for him. I'd love to live there tho!
  10. by   vettech
    Originally posted by SnowymtnRN
    The problem with Seattle is the weather. it rains WAY too much there, and my husband gets seasonally depressed, so that would be way too much for him. I'd love to live there tho!
    If your husband suffers from seasonal depression, perhaps a move to the south might help. Being further south, the days' length doesn't change as radically from season to season, which, as I understand it, is the major factor in seasonal depression.
  11. by   SnowymtnRN
    Originally posted by vettech
    If your husband suffers from seasonal depression, perhaps a move to the south might help. Being further south, the days' length doesn't change as radically from season to season, which, as I understand it, is the major factor in seasonal depression.
    We are from the south originally! LOL The optimal area for us is all seasons, its not any season in particular that he doesn't tolerate, its too much of any one type. That's why we are going back west, seasons are nice there. He accepted the job in Casper Wyoming, so hopefully that will keep us there for a while!
  12. by   2ndCareerRN
    Good things about WA state, and in particular the Eastern part.

    1. No state income tax.
    2. Car tags are cheap...35 dollars.
    3. Weather is nice, only a few weeks of heat in the summer, and not much snow in the winter. 4 seasons.
    4. LOTS of outdoor recreation, year round. 3 ski resorts close enough to get away to for the weekend.
    5. Some very good restaurants, many good concerts, some good city sponsered events.
    6. Close enough to Seattle to go over for a weekend and have some really good food, do the tourist thing, or attend concerts that don't go through Spokane. Lots of nice places for weekend getaways between Spokane and Seattle.
    7. Close to the Snake river in Idaho and the Columbia River in Washington if you enjoy water sports camping. Also many lakes and other camping areas.
    8. Housing is very reasonable, the further away, the better the deals. Go to relator.com and browse Spokane, Stevens, Ferry, and Pend Orille counties.

    I have no idea about school sysems. I imagine they are no better or no worse than most.

    Bad things about the same.

    1. One of the least culturally diversive places I have ever been.
    2. Small town red neck attidudes from many of the people there. They wonder why the place refuses to grow.
    3. High unemployment, wages are nothing to write home about.

    All in all, I will probably plant roots in E. WA.

    I worked at the hospital that cut wages and then voted for the union.

    10 days before the wages were cut, the COLA, longevity and merit raises for the year were cancelled. The cost of employee health insurance also was scheduled to be increased. I knew several nurses that were having to change from a 90/10 or 80/20 plan to a HMO type 70/30 so that their cost would only increase a small amount.

    As soon as the cuts were announced I voted with my feet. I took my accrued vacation, used some sick leave, and hit the road. Literally hit the road, I am now a full time traveler, something I was going to do anyhow. The cuts just made it happen now.

    Talking to the nurses I used to work with is sad. Staffing is worse, morale is lower and management thinks everthing is rosey because the hospital system is now losing less money than before. After I left the ER there, at least 4 others followed. One moved to Pullman, and the other 3 took up traveling.

    Things are not to rosey in Eastern Washington, the area has been and will continue to be depressed for a long time. The main industries are mining and logging. Neither of which is doing good right now. Kaiser aluminum shut down their smelters and other facilities, adding to the unemployment woes in the area. The high tech industries in the area are also feeling the pinch of an economy that is not doing to well, and as a result are laying off people or closing.

    A nurse should have no trouble landing a position to work, and you will probably make around twenty dollars/hr...+/- a little bit. The trouble may be work for your husband, or work that would pay enough to make it seem worthwhile.

    If I were moving again, I would take a serious look at coastal WA. Away from Seattle, but close enough to get there for anything you may need.

    bob
  13. by   vettech
    I've recently "discovered" a relative (a cousin I was close to when we were young) in Moscow, ID. I may see what his take is on the region since what I seem to be hearing is that the economy in the area stinks, nurses are considered less than professionals by the populace and they resent us "big city" folks moving in.

    By and large, the only two good things I'm hearing for y'all is that the area is beautiful (esp the weather) and the cost of living is low.

    I've still got time to think about it. I may just scoot up to the TX Hill Country (Austin area - San Marcos/New Braunfels in particular) for a while while I plan where to go to get what I'm looking for.

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