I have been a nurse for 21 years and a traveler for 12. I used to work full-time in the Baton Rouge area as a staff nurse in the ED. During my years of traveling and speaking with nurses in CA, NV, MN and many more...........they just could not believe the salary we were paid in Louisiana and the way we were treated by hospital administration. Just about all travelers are from the South for these reasons.
Over the past 5 years, I have kept up with salaries in various states. I can honestly say that California is the best state to work as a RN, with Nevada a close second. CA is first because of their high salaries and their nurse-patient ratio laws. NV does not have nurse-patient ratio laws, but they don't have a state income tax either....so your take home pay is larger.
I have decided to take a full time staff position in northern CA after the first of the year. A friend of mine from Arkansas did it five years ago.........and the profits were unbelievable. He has since moved back to Ark. enjoying life with his huge bankroll...lol.
My plan is for only two years......and should reap the same benefits.... as I am single, (he is married).
Just last night, I got a call from a nurse who works in the ER at a Kaiser Hospital in CA. She has 16 years experience. They just signed their new contract and she now earns $74/hr base salary. Sounds hard to believe doesn't it. Even at the Sutter Hospitals, my nurse friends all earn in the 60's. I have finally realized it is time to make the move.
This travel lifestyle of taking pay and benefit cuts have made me sick. Fighting with recruiters at travel agencies to get $30/hr has gotten old.........and frankly I am just sick of it. The staff pay in CA is the way to go.
It would be better if I could find a travel friend to share apartment expenses and do the same. But, either way, I am gone!
wish me luck
Jul 30, '12
shushu-Where in CA will you head? I've tried to talk my hubby into CA, but we have 4 kids and it might not be so cheap for us kwim? I'd be interested to know the housing market(rental as we own our home here in LA, and don't like how it straps you down), and how the cost of living compares to LA. I live near Ruston(northern part of the state) and although the salaries aren't as high as CA, our cost of living isn't either, so Ill be interested in how it compares for you.(some people say it's not as bad as it's made out to be). Good luck!
Jul 30, '12
Cost of living here in CA is ridiculously high so definitely take that into account. Depending on where you go here in Cali rent is ridiculous...1 bedroom apt for $1600 in L.A in a safe area. Northern Cali near the city is much the same as well factor in kids of course that will increase your expenses too. Pay in Northern Cali is much better than Southern Cali but there are costs you have to take into consideration when you're in Northern Cali like paying to cross the bridge if they house you outside the the city.
Jul 30, '12
That high cost of living stuff is for the Bay Area. It is true that land cost more............but I will have an apartment. I have allread checked......a nice apt in Baton Rouge cost more than in Sacramento! Every since Katrina in 2005....we have been getting raped in our area for sure.
Some of the same items at at the grocery store in CA are cheaper than in Baton Rouge. I have been traveling to CA for 11 years....I am telling you! And gas cost more in CA.....that is true. But I am not worried about the cost of living outweighing my income potential. That's for sure! I am talking about a single person, I dont know what a married couple with kids would have to endure...lol.
But, for me.....I am not worried about "the cost of living" in CA. I mean, if it was good for me on rinky dink traveler pay, it will be "bank" getting staff pay and differentials!!
Jul 31, '12
I worked agency in the Baton Rouge area as a CNA. Right now, I am settling down to go to COTA school in New Orleans.
I agree wholeheartedly with the pay in Lousiana. It is better than my home state of Mississippi, but still. Even in Lousiana there are some nursing homes that pay CNAs 7.50/ hr! This is in New Orleans where rent has skyrocketed since Katrina! Oschner is also putting LPNs on the floor to do CNA work. I heard the pay was like 15-16/ hr from somewhere, but could be wrong. Heck, before all these agencies went belly up, I was doing close to that as a CNA with much less responsibility.
It could be the grass is greener on the other side, but I have heard simular stories about CA. I do know fro Occupational Therapy Assistants I have scouted out travel agencies that would pay to move me and give me a real good salary that I would show more of a profit even with more expensive rent!
Once I get through with the hell of having to work and go to school while putting up with near constant abuse from crazed administrators and a ramen noodle budget, I think a move out west is in order for me too. Do not get me wrong, I love New Orleans for the fact that you can ride a bike and do not need a car here. But, there are other places in this country arranged the same way without the ingnorance, meanness, and oppression.
Aug 1, '12
Hey shushu, I recently moved to California from Louisiana and I'm searching for a job. Do you have any advice? I'm a new grad so I know that makes it tough, but any insight would be awesome. It's so hard because I literally know no one & I'm realizing that scoring a job is all about who you know. I'd appreciate any help!!
Apr 25, '13
Thankjs for sharing that information. I am happy for you! It bothers me some time to see that staffing companies (travel and agency) rape nurses out of money and they would not even have a job if it were not for us.