1. Hey just thought I would throw some pay info out there for new grads for st. Louis area. I interviewed this month with SSM St. Joseph Health Center, SSM St. Mary's and I have 2 more interviews this week with St. Lukes and Missouri Baptist Med Center. The starting pay at SSM St. Joe's is $18.25 with a sign on bonus of $5000. Shift diff is different for evenings and nights and weekends and weekend nights. I was told weekend days was $2.00 xtra and weekend nights was $3.00 per hour more. SSM St. Mary's is downtown St. Louis, and they are more desperate for nurses, but I don't think the pay reflects that much. St. Mary's offers 11% nights and 16% weekends of your base pay. Base pay is $18.25. SSM does offer tuition reimbursement and they will pay back your student loans up to $12,000. Benefits will start the day you start. I used to work for SSM before as a Medical Assistant and they paid better than BJC. I was offered a position years ago at BJC and they couldn't touch SSM pay. If you start as a new grad, they only require a 18 month contract, which isn't bad considering that you will get your experience in 1 1/2 years and will be eligible to do travel nursing and make more money. I don't know about you all out there, but I would like to retire in 20 years or sooner and have my house paid off, and be able to travel to other countries on vacation before I end up too old. Nursing to me, isn't just about money...I want to be able to be somewhere, where I will be happy to go into work in the morning. I will post next week what St. Lukes and MOBAP will offer.
    According to, nurses in St. Louis area should be making minimum of $53,000 and max of $64,000. I am wondering if the $18.25 would be negotiable. I would be happy starting at $20.00. Does anyone know how to go about negotiating base pay? Thanks
  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   BethBSN
    As someone who is going to graduate May 2007, thank you so much for posting!
  4. by   antona
    It's interesting that the pay rate hasn't changed much. I left St. Louis Children's Hosp and St Lukes about a year and a half ago and had worked there two years. St. Lukes paid much better and I didn't have to pay St. Louis taxes there. I actually took a pay cut to go from Sikeston to the Children's Hospital but I wanted the experience. I had only been a nurse for one year. SSM Children's offered me a better pay rate but they wouldn't offer me the position I wanted. I don't really think the pay rates are negotiable. St. Louis, and it seems Missouri in general, doesn't think they have a nursing shortage, and they think nurses are a dime a dozen. They will pay more for experience but not much. You could always try though.

    I've been traveling now since I left there and love it! You sure can't beat the pay, especially after MO. Good Luck!
  5. by   tigerrose
    Ok I finished interviewing with St. Lukes and MOBAP( Missouri Baptist) and St. Lukes had the BEST offer out of all of the ones I have interviewed with. I was there for 3 hours!!! They have loan forgiveness $3000.00 per year and no cap which is great because you can get them to pay all of your student loans off. $5000.00 sign on bonus for full time. $2500.00 for part time. They have tuition reimbursement AND you don't have to sign a contract. The pay was the best. Raises are annually between 0-6%. Shift differential is $3.75 for nights , $1.50 for weekends and $1.75 for holidays. They were all very nice, and the hospital was very clean and orderly. They will be going to computerized charting this fall. Medical, Dental and vision start the day you start. I was also told that LPN's start at $12.50. Mainly it is an all RN staff with PCT's who will do the blood draws, suctioning, DC IV's, DC foley's and basic patient care. It is also a teaching hospital. There are 9 floors. I have more info about benefits if anyone wants to know more.
    Now MOBAP is a different story. They were very nice but seemed desperate. This is a community based hospital. It was a little outdated, Sign on was only $2000.00, you had to sign a contract. Starting pay was only $17.50, they had a $12,000 loan forgiveness cap. If it were up to them, I would have just changed into some scrubs and put me to work that same day while I was there!!!. They seemed too desperate and that was a red flag to me!
    I was offered a critical care position with St. Luke's and I have accepted mainly due to the location since it will be 6 miles from where I will live.
    SSM St. joseph was my second choice in regards to pay and position. They also seemed very friendly and easy to talk to.
    Good luck to those who are looking for opportunities. Pretty much most of the hospitals are competitive. Some better than others. Make sure you do your research to find the best position and location for you so that you may utilize all of your nursing skills.
  6. by   tigerrose
    ANTONA>>>>>>>Why did you leave St. Lukes? Was it just to travel? What agency are you working for? What did you like about it and what did you not like about it? What floor did you work on? I recently accepted a position there and was kinda wondering from others what to expect. I would like to travel once I get some experience.
    Last edit by tigerrose on May 28, '06
  7. by   antona
    Loved St. Lukes. They made you feel like family. Great pay. I worked part time there and full time at St. Louis Children's. St. Lukes time off accrues much quicker than SLC but I heard their insurance isn't so hot. I had SLC insurance. I worked in the Special Care Nursery and the Well Baby Nursery. It was very relaxing after working all week at SLC in the NICU.

    I left in January of last year and started traveling that same month. I don't ever want to go back to staff. Traveling is great. You can't beat the pay and bennies. You don't have to worry about evals for raises, manditories, meetings, politics, etc. I'm with RNNetwork. They've really done good by me. Great insurance. I was in Corpus Christi first, then Oregon, now Pittsburgh. Hoping to go to Florida next, depending on what they can offer me.

    I think you made a good choice going with St. Lukes. The only thing better I liked about BJC was the choice of hospitals if anyone got sick.
  8. by   tigerrose
    Antona, Thanks for your replies. I would have to agree about the earned time off. You know you mentioned you don't have to worry about the politics, floating is like that. I used to float for 3 years and LOVED it. I wouldn't mind doing it again. However, I have attained a position as a CVICU nurse which I will get a few years of experience and I will be able to retain my nursing skills. I think they may have upgraded their insurance, they are offering Healthlink which is a PPO, they pay 90% and it is around $100.00 every 2 weeks for a family which I don't think is too bad.
    What do you find the biggest challenge to travel nursing or with your assignments? Is there anything that you don't like about it? I have heard that travel nurses get the more difficult patients...that could be myth so I figure I would ask. A friend of mine is a travel nurse but I haven't really sat down and asked her a bunch of questions. She has told me that she has worked in some hospitals where she had pretty crappy equipment to work with. Do you get a short orientation when you arrive at your assignment to get used to paperwork, area, supplies etc? Are you traveling currently as a nursery nurse? As far as housing, do they set you up in an apartment, hotel? I did go to their website and checked it out, it looks like they have many different states for you to choose from. How much extra is the pay? Is it different for every assignment? Thanks for your replies, your info has been very helpful
  9. by   antona
    I get paid about twice as much as a travel nurse, plus double time for over time. Plus part of my pay is not taxed I have plenty of deductions at the end of the year. I get guaranteed hours which means they either use me or I sit at home and they pay me full price to sit at home. Every assignment is different. Every company is different. I use RNNetwork because in my opinion they have the best insurance for the best price for families. Some companies pay better some pay worse. My company has the best insurance for families, high end housing in safe areas, and they've treated me right with no complaints. Housing has been in apartments, but they do have houses in some areas. Or you can take the stipend and get your own housing.

    The biggest challeng is getting all my stuff and my kids stuff to fit in the cars when we leave and trying not to accumulate too much stuff while we are there. The first few days at the new assignment is always the worst. You don't know what is expected of you, you don't know the doctors and what they like, you don't know where anything is. But it doesn't take much to catch on. The only thing I don't like is I miss my house in Missouri.

    You have to use your head and your knees when chosing assignments. I'm very prayerful and I research plenty on the web. I try to find out what others experiences where in those hospitals. I look up the crime rating. I listen to the word of the Lord in prayer. I've been very blessed to have great assignments. I've never felt dumped on. It has been my experience that they usually give you the least acuity patients until they see what you can do. I have always worked ICU when traveling. NICU and now Cardiac ICU in a children's hosp. I wouldn't mind taking a Nursery assignment if it got me where I wanted to go. You work harder mentally as a NICU nurse and harder physically as a Nursery nurse. Sometimes that mental break is a welcome change. Equipment where I have worked has usually been top of the line. The only exception is I haven't seen alot of Kangaroo beds but then they are expensive. Orientation is usually one or two days. You can take longer but they won't appreciate it. You won't really need more though. Orientation is boring and the easiest way to learn something is to jump in there and do it and ask questions along the way. You just have to make sure you take an assignment where people don't mind when you ask them questions. I've been blessed!
  10. by   rkrs6673
    Hello, The information on St. Lukes sounds great. What is the starting pay for new grads at this hospital?
  11. by   tigerrose
    Most of the hospitals are starting at $18.50. However they will pay you for previous medical experience if you were a tech, or LPN, and depending on how many years you did that. So, it might be different for someone who has only been a tech for a year versus a tech who has worked 3 years...etc. It's pretty cool that they will compensate you extra for that. St. Lukes is a very nice hospital. They do have openings, just jump on their website. They are located in Chesterfield, MO right off of Hwy 40 and woods mill road.
  12. by   tigerrose
    Antona, Thanks so much for the info. You work in Cardiac ICU, infants or older? or both? You mentioned getting all of your stuff in your car...LOL I can imagine accumulating items coming back from a trip. Do you get to do some site seeing while you are on your days off? Do you kids like for you to travel? How many kids do you have? Ages? I have one boy he is 8 and one of the reasons I would eventually like to travel is that he can see different parts of this country, go to museums, skiing, etc. Plus, my husband and I just like to travel. Do you work days or nights?
    I think I would have the same worry about how the doctors will be...etc. I am the kind of person who would ask questions. Are the staff aware that you are just there for a short assignment? Or do they think you are just new? I was wondering if they are told by their manager that you are a travel nurse. Do you find that they are more receptive to you as a travel nurse or do you feel that they are intimidated a little? I was just wondering. I figure I would ask all of these questions before I would ever venture traveling so that I kinda have an idea what to expect.
    You are right about the best way to learn is just jumping in. Of course with nursing it is always different and challenging but definately rewarding. It is really great that you have had great assignments and that you have strong faith. I have always felt that nursing was my calling. It is funny because St. Lukes was the place I delivered my son back in 1997. The day nurse who took care of me was very mean to me and I told myself that I would one day become a nurse and treat my patients with kindness, compassion, and respect unlike how she had treated me. I was so deathly afraid of needles back then, now I have become very proficient with drawing blood and nothing phases me....well some decubs can really make me nauseous lol! So, actually that really mean nurse helped me target my career. I started as a MA and worked for 2 years in a family practice and absolutely loved it, it felt right and the lord had cleared the path to success for me. I feel blessed too.
    Do you take time off to vacation? and last but not least which I think you have answered in a round about way...but I will ask Is it worth it? I am thinking your answer will be yes. It has been so great talking with you Antona.
  13. by   antona
    I've enjoyed talking with you too. You can write me any time. My email is

    In the CICU I mostly work with babies. They know I am a NICU nurse so they try to just give me the babies. Normally it is not a problem because it's mostly babies that have the problems since they are born with them. However, in the unit, there are various ages. We have even had 44 year old. The reason is because people born with heart problems used to die at a young age. Now they are living longer but it is still the Pediatric doctors that are used to dealing with their problems. Adult doctors are usually uncomfortable dealing with these problems that they have had since birth.

    We do some site seeing in the different areas. Mostly we do the free stuff. I seven children. Four are 18 and above and on their own. Three still live at home. They are 15yo, 13 yo, and 20 mths. In some ways they like traveling and some they don't. They miss their friends, but they do enjoy making new ones. I think it is neat that I can take them to places I never could otherwise. We've had some great experiences and met some wonderful people. We are very involved with church and scouts everywhere we go, so the kids still have plenty to do and plenty of people to do things with as soon as we get anywhere.

    I work straight nights. I make sure it's in my contract. The staff know that I am a traveler. They have treated me fine and always try to talk me into staying and have plenty of questions. I've heard other places they don't treat you so nicely.

    I love traveling and wish I could do it forever. But my family wants to get back home to stay eventually. Maybe I could do agency parttime and just do a couple assignments a year. We'll see.

    Got to run. Write any time. Antona
  14. by   gymrat33
    I was hoping to get a job at one of the hospitals that we do clinicals at. Thanks for the information. I hope you enjoy your work there and maybe I will see you in 2 years if you are still there. Thanks again