I have been a med/surg/oncology RN in a large 300 bed hospital in an urban area in California for six years. It's the only floor I've ever worked on and I really love it. I am contemplating a move back to the western suburbs of Chicago for family reasons and would like to get a sense of what nursing is like back there.
If you work in the area and have a minute to give me your two cents, I would really appreciate it!
1. Are hospitals hiring? Are there jobs?
2. Are hospitals unionized? Are the unions effective at bargaining on the nurses' behalf? How outspoken are they in terms of patient rights?
3. What are the going wages for nurses with a BSN and 5+ years experience?
4. How are the benefits? Medical, etc.
5. What about the hours? How many hours/week qualifies as full time?
6. Working conditions? What are your ratios? Do you have CNAs or other ancillary personnel?
My unit has a 5:1 ratio (we have a designated break relief nurse). I work 32 hours/week and am considered full time. My benefits and salary is great - I have full medical coverage for my kids and husband - no employee contribution. I am making about $68/hour right now. Our union is pretty hard-core - they are very outspoken about nurse and patient rights, but I think we are facing a big fight next year when our contract is up for renewal (i'm sure we'll strike). My unit is great - something different every day.
Anyway, please share your stories with me. I don't know any nurses in Illinois and would love to hear your stories. Thank you in advance!