Well, Duke isn't known for paying well. If you aren't set on Duke, consider nearby Raleigh. The crime rate is MUCH lower in Raleigh. And while Raleigh isn't perfect, it is better organized than Durham. For instance, we get a lot of ice down here rather than snow. We also have hurricanes to contend with now and then. After a particularly bad disaster, Durham residents remain in the dark about three times longer than the bulk of residents in Raleigh.
Hospitals in and around Raleigh include WakeMed (and Western Wake in Cary), Rex Healthcare, and Raleigh Community Hospital. WakeMed is the largest and its reputation has improved a lot in the last few years. They are a trauma center and a teaching hospital. Pay and benefits are good. If you want the good benefits but prefer a smaller facility, Western Wake in Cary is great. Rex Healthcare is on the west side of Raleigh. They have a very good reputation. I'm not a nurse yet, but having worked in a non-clinical department at both, Rex seems to have more (and more boring) meetings. The pay is nearly as good.