What is it like to work as a nurse in Illinois?

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    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!
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Your post has been moved to the Illinois Nursing Forum with the ultimate goal of attracting responses from nurses who live and work in Illinois. Good luck to you.
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    Well Chicago is not California. Nobody here has the defined ratios or benefits of California. Just this will be a major shock and adjustment for you.
  6. 0
    Quote from netglow
    Well Chicago is not California. Nobody here has the defined ratios or benefits of California. Just this will be a major shock and adjustment for you.
    Thanks for your reply. Ratios are great, but many hospitals pay for them by reducing other positions, like CNAs and lab techs. So, nurses are having to do more, but for fewer patients. I am not sure it completely balances....

    I feel like I am in for a shock when I get there. Are there jobs?
  7. 0
    If you move to Illinois let me flat out tell you are in for a FULL culture shock!!! Illinois hospitals can't even touch the benefits you are getting in California - benefits, pay, hours, etc ... Your best bet to get $68/hr is maybe Agency & that's not guaranteed work. The only few unionized hospitals that I know of is UIC, U of C, and County - good luck trying to get into them. I'm resource at my hospital (no benefits) and the best pay I get is $40/hr. just do your research before you jump off a very good ship in California ...
  8. 0
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Your post confirms my suspicions. If I do come back, it won't be until I have a job. I would really hate to leave my job here . I do know how good we've got it.

    Thanks again for your time.
  9. 0
    No problem! Good luck on your search ... It's just a very tough job market in Illinois right now (truth is, where isn't there?). Illinois state is also flat out broke, the state budget in so far in the REd, that they aren't paying the hospitals their reimbursement for Medicare & Medicaid back for almost 2 years - many hospitals are tightening their budgets & cutting back. I know of a local hospital that went thru 2 rounds of layoffs on 2012. I'm in no means trying to discourage you, just trying to be realistic. I would move out of this state in a heartbeat ... But I'm tied to my condo right now until the housing market increases somewhat ...


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