East Washington/Idaho nurses

  1. 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 roughly what nurses (RN ICU) make in that area. Any tips or help on how i can do that? I did a search and the posts i came up with here on allnurses didn't really help me much. I'm curious, what do nurses make around this area?? Gotta adjust our budget!
    •  
  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   lindarn
    Dear snowymtnRN,

    I moved to Spokane from Southern California in 1989 to marry someone in the Air force and was stationed at Fairchild AFB. I have never regretted anything more in my life.

    Salaries here in Spokane are conveniently depressed for employers who still envisage a 1960's Spokane. I was making $30.00 an hour when I left including a specialty certification. Salaries in North Idaho are worse.

    We are unfortunately unionized wiuth the Washington State Nurses's Association ("W" standing for worthless"!!) who does absolutely nothing! In the face of a crushing nurses shortage, the nurse haven't gotten an appreciable raise in the 12 years that I worked there. Benefits are OK, but could be ALOT better.

    The biggest problem with WSNA are the two nurses who are the "Co- Chairs" of he local unit here in Spokane. Neither are married, have children, and have nothing to do with their money but put it in the bank. They are oblivious to the real needs of the nursing staff, and put their own needs and concerns ahead of the needs of the rest of the staff that they are supposed to be representing.They are more concerned about making the hospital CEO's & administrators happy than getting the nurses higher pay, better benefits, and better workplace advocacy. As it stands now, advocacy & support are virtually non- existent.

    The contract expires December 31 & WSNA have not even sent out a survey to ask the members what they want.

    ICU nurses are routinely outvoted by the floor nurses when it comes to workplace issues that pertain ICU are we are routinley outvoted.

    The nurse manager of the ICU has once again over- hired and the nurses are floating every week, sometimes twice a week. This allows the hospital to have a bulit in ICU "float pool" to send all over the hospital. Now, they only float within the "float groups" and take patient care assignments, that keep nurses within their area of expertise. Otherwise you are floated as "functional only", meaning that you only work as a helper and are not given a patient care assignment to be responsible for.

    The staffing in the ICU's is now plush while the floors are hurting badly. My guess is that with the next contract the nurses will vote to eliminate the float groups and make the ICU nurses take assignments all over the hospital. Certain units in the hospital are "closed units", meaning that the staff does not float- ER, OR, PACU, etc. The WSNA reps have faught to prevent the ICU's from becoming closed units. My educated guess is that the issue of closed units will be eliminated & the ICU's will become the "hospital float pool".

    The other large hospital in town, Deaconess, owned by Empire Health, which was the only large hospital in Washington that was not unionzed, was just given a 9% pay cut, (except the departments that were unionized)- there was a thread here a couple of months ago concerning this issue. The tech's, LPN's, nurses aides, etc, all voted to unionize with 1199 SEIU at Deaconess and at Valley Hospital. The nurses had been talking to 1199 SEIU, and pushed through a union vote after all this (the other Empire Health hospital, Valley Hospital, voted to unionize). Believe it or not, the nurses at Deaconess rejected the union!! The hospital launced a nasty anti union campaign that the nurses bought hook, line and sinker! They now have to wait another year to have another union vote. In the meantime, the hospital has also increased the costs of benefits so that 9% pay cut is really much higher. What can I say? To quote Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as Stupid does" Nurses get exactly what they ask for.

    I left SAcred Heart 2 years ago for personal issues, & will never go back to bedside nursing. I had started a Medical Legal consulting business about 8 years ago, and my husband just retired from the Air Force and got another full time benefitted job, so I really don't have to work. I am very lucky, believe me.

    I am just going with my business and that is enough for me.

    All I can say is, you would be musch better off skipping Spokane, Post Falls, or Coeur D' Alene, and going to Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, or Portland Oregon. The pay the is significantly higher than Eastern Washington & Idaho with better benefits, perk, and working conditions. They also demand more money and benefits. The nurses in Spokane still say, "well, I make enough! I'm happy! That is with nurses topping out at about $35.00 an hour. The overall job market here is very depressed and there are not alot of careers here. Industry has passed up Spokane, or has found other places to open businesses. We have lost many companies who have gone to Seattle, Boise, Salt Lake City, etc.

    There are also three schools of nursing here- Spokane Comunity College (ADN, & LPN), the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education (ICNE)- BSN, and Gonzaga University- BSN. The public does not see the new grads who leave for greener pastures & move to other areas on the coast that I mentioned, or the aging work force. Or the nurses who go back to school to get graduate degrees, or go to Law School at Gonzaga University. We can not keep new, young nurses. They are gone in a couple of years. The public is in La La land.

    Also, I might add, nurses get absolutely no respect in Spokane & Idaho. Regardless of how many college degrees you have, if you are a nurse you are nothing but blue collar "hired help".

    I hope that I have answered your questions. I'm sorry that this is so long abd probably not what you wanted to here. Good luck with you decision.

    Linda, RN, BSN, CCRN
  4. by   SnowymtnRN
    Greetings from DH. I just read your post and must say..........damn. Although, I am not suprised to hear that the floor nurses are, to put it mildly, behind the ******* times as far as nurse empowerment goes. I am also not suprised that these same nurses could be blindly bullied or intimidated into voting no on a union. Sometimes, these women forget that if it wasnt for union activity in the past, 10 year olds would still be strapped to machines working 17 hours days to make $1 a week. Noone in this country would have medical insurance, weekend differential or overtime. Wake the F up!!! Nurses are the absolute worse when it comes to minimizing there contribution to the lives of others. It never stops amazing me how easy it is to push nurses over, to shove crap there way time and time again and have them just say "oh well at least I have a job" Well, there is more to nursing than getting your cowardly ass out of bed and showing up, you MUST be commited to your patients, to your care and to your colleages. NOT the managers with there bull&*^% contempt for you. Heres a news flash "THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU" further "THEY DON'T CARE IF YOU EAT OR IF YOUR CHILDREN EAT!!!!" THEY DONT CARE!!. It should be so obvious to you people what needs to be done. EMPOWER yourselves against stupidity. If your union is,nt working for you, FIRE THEM!! Probly won't be coming to washington until something changes with the nursing environment.

    P.S. To bad for Spokane
  5. by   SnowymtnRN
    What are the wages like in washingto anyway, just out of curiosity??
  6. by   vettech
    Wow! I am planning on leaving the Houston-area post-grad. I've been thinking about where and doing some research. Up until now, Spokane was very high on the list... Lindarn, your post just made it drop WAY down the list.

    Tips anyone on places that would meet my criteria?
    1) Population no more than 800k or so (the primary reason I'm leaving is to escape the Metropolis - even 800k might be pushing it)
    2) all 4 seasons (Houston has 2, Summer and Rainy Season)
    3) mild to average winter (Snow is an alien concept to me, gotta be able to ease into it)
    4) Mountains in sight of my home, easily accessed
    5) Affordable (decent cost of living vs nurse salaries)

    Spokane, on paper, seemed to meet the list pretty well - shrug
  7. by   kimmicoobug
    Pay isn't that great where I live (compared to some wages I see here). When I receive my license, I will make 19.80 an hour. This is starting wage. I do have a friend who has worked there for a year and makes 23 something/hr with shift differential included. In this area, this wage isn't bad. I live in a small town with 30,000 or so people, and the cost of living is probalby cheaper.

    Whatever decision you make regarding your move...good luck!
  8. by   kids
    Originally posted by vettech
    Tips anyone on places that would meet my criteria?
    1) Population no more than 800k or so (the primary reason I'm leaving is to escape the Metropolis - even 800k might be pushing it)
    2) all 4 seasons (Houston has 2, Summer and Rainy Season)
    3) mild to average winter (Snow is an alien concept to me, gotta be able to ease into it)
    4) Mountains in sight of my home, easily accessed
    5) Affordable (decent cost of living vs nurse salaries)
    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.
  9. by   jenanna
    Dear snowymtnRN,

    I appreciate what Linda has to say, and I am sorry she has had such a bad experience in Spokane. I grew up in Spokane, lived in Seattle and now currently live in Eastern Washington again. I encourage you to get more information, Spokane is a great place and I know of other nurses who are very happy there (I am not a nurse, just interesting in becoming one). Keep in mind, however, that Washington has a very high rate of unemployment right now. Good luck with your decision, Spokane has always gotten a bad rap from people who have never even lived there.
  10. by   vettech
    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.
    I don't mean to knock your town or make assumptions but, after looking at a map of the area, it looks like Vancouver, WA and Portland basically bump right up against one another. That's very similar to where I live now - I'm on the edge of Houston in a cluster of "small towns" between the city and the Gulf, but one cannot tell (save for the signs) where Houston ends and these other places begin... its just one continuous urban sprawl. That's what I'm trying to get away from.

    I really appreciate your suggestion and if I'm mistaken, please correct me. After all the research I've done, I wonder if the city I envision in my head even exists.
  11. by   kids
    vettech

    Portland and Vancouver look like they bump on a map but they really don't.

    Downtown Vancouver sits on the Columbia River (which is the state line). Portland is sort of sprawled but it is residential (for the most part), a few malls and some light to medium industrial between the river & the city. Downtown Vancouver is actually very small and the residential is old, renewed houses. If the map you are looking at lists place names like Hazel Dell & Orchards they are not towns...it is hard to explain...they are incorporated but are governed by either the county or the city.

    The whole area is hard to describe...it looks like a large sprawling city (like Houston) but the population density is nowhere what you would expect...I live on almost 2 acres...inside Vancouver city limits, I have wildlife in my yard.
  12. by   vettech
    Originally posted by kids-r-fun
    vettech

    Portland and Vancouver look like they bump on a map but they really don't.

    Downtown Vancouver sits on the Columbia River (which is the state line). Portland is sort of sprawled but it is residential (for the most part), a few malls and some light to medium industrial between the river & the city. Downtown Vancouver is actually very small and the residential is old, renewed houses. If the map you are looking at lists place names like Hazel Dell & Orchards they are not towns...it is hard to explain...they are incorporated but are governed by either the county or the city.

    The whole area is hard to describe...it looks like a large sprawling city (like Houston) but the population density is nowhere what you would expect...I live on almost 2 acres...inside Vancouver city limits, I have wildlife in my yard.
    Thanks for the clarification. I'll add it to the list and do some digging. There are a few areas around here that have somehow escaped the urban sprawl too but damn few.
  13. by   SnowymtnRN
    Well after much discussion, they have not come across with a good enough deal in Idaho. I guess it isn't meant to be for now. So my DH has accepted a position in Casper Wyoming. Wish us luck!!!
  14. by   gypsyatheart
    kids-r-fun:
    Wow! Vancouver sounds pretty good! We also were thinking of moving to Spokane....looks good on paper, but am I glad I read this thread! I really want to be "somewhat" close to the coast, and on the map it looks pretty good. Any concern re: Mt.St. Helens? Also, what pay range can an experienced RN expect, and how is the job market in general?
    Thanks so much!

close