Help! UNC vs. Duke

  1. Help! I'm going to be graduating in Dec with my BSN. My husband's job is transferring to the triangle area in North Carolina (Durham/Raleigh area) then, so I have interviews set up with Duke and UNC for nursing positions in the next month. I was wondering if anyone could tell me anything about working for either of these 2 hospitals. I have heard through the grapevine that Duke nurses are not as satisfied as UNC nurses, but I was hoping to get some more input. I'm looking along the lines of differences between nurse/patient ratios, benefits, wages, differential payment, management systems, etc... I was just hoping to get some candid advice or experiences. Thanks for your help!!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   VickyRN
    Duke has a well-deserved bad rep. Was into serious union-busting activity several years ago. Was hundreds of nurses short, due to its nurse-unfriendly atmosphere. Maybe all that has changed... and maybe not. My memory isn't that short and I don't trust them. UNC, on the other hand, has a good rep. I have heard that nurse-patient ratios on med-surg are 1:4! Awesome!
  4. by   NewNurse2be
    Yes, I heard about all of the union threats going on at Duke a few years ago. Does anyone know if the place has turned itself around at all? Thanks!
  5. by   Tiki_Torch
    I have no inside information for you, but your post got me to thinking... Isn't Duke the hospital where earlier this year a teenage girl died after receiving a heart-lung transplant of the wrong blood type? I understand the physician in charge took responsibility for the incident, but I have to wonder... is everyone there so overworked that something as important as that can get overlooked? Yes, I know accidents happen and no one is perfect, but it just gently raises a little red flag for me. Please don't think I'm bad-mouthing Duke because I feel sure they are a very well respected facility for many reasons. It's just that I remembered the incident and it was rather recent... I think it was this past February...?

    Anyway, I hope someone will be able to give you some good information to your original question.

    Best wishes for a wonderful nursing career!
  6. by   cruzen
    Hi, I live in the Triangle area. I have also worked at UNC, WakeMed and Rex Healthcare. A questions for ya:

    1) Which city are you going to live in? There are so many options to choose from. Proximity itself may make your choice for you. Chapel Hill is pretty pricey, as is certain parts of Raleigh. Cary is nice, but also pricey (very low crime rate though). Durham has a bad rep, parts of it are ok.

    UNC is a state funded teaching hospital. Have no more expectations than that. I worked in CTICU, CCU, RICU, MICU, SICU and one time floated to a tele floor (bleh). Can be very busy, takes forever it seems to get anything done with the residents. My understanding is that they pay better than Duke though.

    Duke, never worked there. Had friends who did, everyone says it is a incredibly busy place. Pay is less than UNC.

    WakeMed and Rex are awesome! Personally, I would go to one of those two, both are private not for profits. WakeMed is the bigger of the two, with 700+beds, Level 2 Trauma center, one of the busiest ED's in the state (and one of the few ED's with a 3 to 1 ratio). Nice differentials at both places, Rex is 3.50 for evenings, 5.00 for nights and an extra 10.00 for weekends on top of evening and night diff! WakeMed pays 2.35 for evenings, 3.25 for nights and weekends are different. Weekend day diff is time and a half, weekend night diff is time and two thirds!

    Feel free to email with any questions, will be glad to answer them for ya.
  7. by   NurseAmy
    I totally ditto everything Cruzen said above. Rex or WakeMed are the places you want to work. Western Wake in Cary in also a great place, although a very small hospital, and it is a branch of WakeMed.
    I would personally only work at Duke or UNC if I had no other option for a job. Stories from friends of mine who have worked both places would curl your hair. You also have to pay for parking at UNC and Duke, and the parking and traffic in both places is a nightmare. Duke is not in a safe part of town.
    Feel free to PM me if you have questions about the area- I have lived here more than 10 years now.
  8. by   Tilleycs
    I'll ditto Amy's ditto of what Cruzen said. My girlfriend left UNC for WakeMed and liked it there. I also have a good friend who used to work at Rex and works there part-time on the weekends now. You may want to add those to your job search.
  9. by   bluesun
    I am a new grad from UNC-CH and currently working at Duke. As part of the the nursing program at UNC-CH we rotated to many of the hospitals in the area. My preference is Duke. As many will agree, even those with bad opinions of Duke, each floor of each hospital is different r/t nurse friendliness and satisfaction. I personally work in oncology. Everyone here, wants to be here, and enjoys their jobs. However, I cannot speak for all floors. Both UNC and Duke are teaching hospitals, thus will be fairly fast paced and at time hectic as to be expected. As to the pay, as a new grad the pay is near equal at both hospitals. (Duke just increased it's entry pay rate and shift diff to more than UNC). UNC and Duke both require people to pay to park. I never have a problem with parking at Duke and do not feel unsafe walking from the parking lot. (knowing Chapel Hill well, truth be told it is also not as safe as everyone thinks) All in all, it is a personal call. I would be interested to hear how your interviews go and the impression you are given.
  10. by   NewNurse2be
    Thanks everyone for your replies. The main reason why I'm wanting to work at either UNC or Duke is because I love being at teaching facilities. I guess I'll just really have to sit down and weigh my options once I get down south!

    Bluesun, first off, congrats on graduation! Especially from such a great school! Just out of curousity, why did you choose Duke over UNC or any of the other area hospitals? I know you said you really liked your unit, but was just wondering if there was anything else from a broader perspective.

    Thanks again for all of your responses!
  11. by   bluesun
    Most of my reasons were not based on "reputation", in my
    opinion both are very fine hospitals. I did my very first rotation
    of nursing school at Duke and also my summer internship. I
    prefer the way Duke documents their medication records, computerized instead of handwritten. As mentioned before the
    pay scale I believe is very similiar, obviously for competition reasons. I also grew up in Chapel Hill and worked for the
    Medical School for 2 years before beginning nursing school. I thought I would like to work somewhere to start fresh and
    new without any feelings of indebtedness or familiarity. At unc I
    was on a Peds floor (now transferred to the "new" women and
    children's hospital...pros and cons too).
    What dept are you considering and I could perhaps hook you up with someone I graduated with who is working there for more info/floor specific...our graduating class had a huge number of people going to UNC and Duke.

    good luck with it all.
  12. by   CarolinaGrl
    NewNurse2Be,

    I am a new grad also from UNC-CH. I haven't started working yet, but I will next month at UNC. Just my opinion after doing clinicals and talking to nurses from many of the hospitals mentionened, so take it as you may.

    I just finished my practicum at WakeMed in Raleigh. If I had not already accepted a position at UNC, I would run to WakeMed in a heartbeat. It is a large community hospital that is doing everything possible to advance itself. Although it is not technically a teaching hospital, UNC has med teaching teams functioning there, giving you the best of both worlds. The morale seemed very upbeat and staffing appears to be better than both UNC and Duke. On the other hand - I am very excited about the learning opportunities at UNC and don't regret making the decision.

    Are you a new grad (NewNurse2Be)? Feel free to PM me if you have more questions etc. Welcome to the area.

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