Hi everybody! Let me start by saying I know it is very tacky and unprofessional to discuss pay but I am really looking for advice and thought this was the best way to find it.
I will be starting nursing school next fall (finishing pre-reques now) in St. Louis. I know it is hard for new nurses to find jobs and I have been told to get a job at a hospital so I have an "in" when I graduate. I currently work as a dental receptionist making $17.50 I support my 2 kids and myself as a single mom. I own a home and must work. If I get a job as a unit secretary or PCT (after 90 days of clinicals) I am afraid I won't make enough to support myself. If I don't switch jobs, I am afraid I will not be able to get a job when I graduate.
What advice do you future nurses have for me? If you work as a PCT or unit secretary do you mind sharing your pay and years of experience to help me make my decision.
I appreciate your taking time to read this and any advice you have!
The family of four can support themselves on 40,000. The weird thing is that we also have rich communities mixed in though where the families are millionaires. My friend's parents lived in a gated community.
The house my boyfriend bought that has 2 acres was 130,000 and that's because it's in the middle of nowhere. Literally middle of nowhere. Houses closer to town cost about 70,000-190,000 for around 3 to 4 bedrooms and they are decent houses.
Honestly though, healthcare is really the only thing that the town has going on. I don't know how we can support having 3 level I trauma centers with several level II and level III trauma centers. The larger cities in the state do not have 3 level I trauma centers. We have the med school and each competing health care system has to have a level I trauma center along with the two children's hospitals. We pretty much have two of everything. Psych hospitals? The 2nd and 3rd largest in the state along with peds lock down units. If there is a specialty out there, we probably have two of it. Heck, helicopters? If you can't get one service to fly you ask for the other helicopter service and they will try to appear more manly. Need a mobile unit? If we can't get our service's mobile unit, then the other one will provide us with one.
The large city next me has an average family income of 48,000 with an average home price of 60,000. Cost of living is low. Gas here is about 3.50 a gallon. Water is cheaper (although we have well water right now. It sucks!). Electricity is dirt cheap. Even food is pretty cheap.
Also, the RNs start out at about 24 dollars an hour if you are in my system. The new grads for the other one start out about 20 dollars during the new nursing orientation thing then they go up to around 24 dollars. However, they have better arrangements. I plan on getting hired in my system and taking the money for the BSN. Then leaving after 5 years (so I'll be vested) and heading over to the competitor.
The cost of living is low, but we are also poor and a lot of people are unemployed here because the factories are shutting down. A lot of my classmates are either in healthcare or they still work at grocery/retail stores if they remained in the area. It's not as bad as some of the other cities though in the area but it's not good. If I break up with my boyfriend, I will remain in the state but I'd probably head south towards the capital of the state where my sisters live.
Also, I do not know if I get a little bonus for being a paramedic since my unit clerk title is unit clerk/pct. My friend is a pct/unit clerk and she made 11.something an hour full-time when I was a pct/unit clerk for 3 months, I made 12.50 an hour plus .45 cents an hour since I was 2nd shift. However, she is just a nursing student whereas I was a nursing student and paramedic. Third shift usually pays more like I said I get an additional dollar an hour.
Also, I don't know if you will want to work full-time. I drove myself nuts and dropped my grades last semester when I did two clinicals at the same time and worked 36-48 hours a week. There were some days I was at school 6:30 am to 3:30 and turned around and worked 7 pm to 7 am as a unit clerk. I did not work as a paramedic those shifts but sometimes I would come in and find out I am a paramedic for four hours.
One option is to find a supplemental position and pick up an occasional weekend. Our nurse externs work every third weekend and they pick up hours now and then.
Last edit by green34 on Jul 16, '13