Portland RN

  1. Hi, I was wondering if anyone could fill me in on what the job market is like in Portland? Is there all of opportunity for nurses in Portland? Can you afford to live comfortably on a nursing salary in Portland? I am a single parent of a three year old and finishing my associates. Do you know if many of the hospitals pay more for BSNs vs Associates. I know they will require you to get your BsN in a certain amount of time but I know for instance, some of the hospitals near me require you to get your sN but don't pay any higher having it. Any thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks!!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   boywithacoin
    Yes, I would say that all the hospital systems I have looked into pay more for BSN than ADN; some don't even hire ADNs, like OHSU for example. Depending on where you want to live (suburbs vs city), what type of nursing you'll be doing (SNF/LTC vs hospital, etc), and what your idea of "living comfortably" looks like, then, yes! You totally can live comfortably on a nurse's salary.
    I am not positive, but I'd think that since most of the hospital systems prefer BSN, and since Portland seems to be a popular destination as of late, it might be harder to find a hospital job with an ADN (especially if you'll be a new grad), so you might end up needing to go the LTC/SNF route. Those jobs generally pay less than the hospital systems, which may affect your ability to live comfortably. And, as Portland is so popular with new people moving here all the time, rents and housing prices continue to rise. I don't know where you're from or what type of rent you're used to, but according to a quick search, average apartment rental in Portland proper is close to $1700/mo. However, there are still suburbs in the area that are relatively affordable.

    If you haven't already, look around at apartment/housing options on craigslist, apartments.com, etc. to get a sense of what's out there for housing. Some places I've heard are still affordable are Milwaukie (a suburb of Portland) and Vancouver, WA (right across the river). Then look somewhere like indeed.com to see what's out there for new grad nursing jobs. I don't know anything about the costs associated with having a 3-yo in the area, so someone else will have to chime in on how to factor that in.
  4. by   Moenine9
    Thank you for your reply! I have looked at housing and have noticed that it can get expensive. I live in a northwest suburb of chicago. Given the information you provided I will wait to relocate until I have my BSN. Which will also give me time to work as s nurse and get some experience. Is Vancouver close to OHSU? Would I still get an Oregon RN LISCENSE since I would still be working on OR and living in WA? I really appreciate your input!
  5. by   boywithacoin
    If you'll be working in OR, you will need an Oregon license, yes. Unless of course you get a job at the VA, which is federal, so you can have any state RN license. You can always maintain both a WA and OR license endorsement (you'll have to look at the requirements for each; usually there are a certain number of hours you have to do for upkeep) if you lived in Vancouver and wanted to have flexibility to work in WA as well.

    As I said, Vancouver is right across the river from Portland, so depending on where in Vancouver you lived, it'd basically be a straight shot on the freeway to OHSU, maybe around 10-15 miles. Traffic has gotten worse over the years, and a lot of people commute to/from Vancouver, so it might be long a commute depending on your hours. (If you worked nights, it might not be as bad.)

    Honestly, if you could find a job and a place to live in Vancouver (some job options are PeaceHealth or Legacy), you could take advantage of the slightly less expensive rents and lack of income tax, then come over to Portland to shop and take advantage of no sales tax. I'm a born and raised Oregonian, so the thought is pretty much sacrilegious for me personally, but it's what some people do.
  6. by   Moenine9
    Thanks for your input. I have been looking st housing in Vancouver and it seems reasonable. I am assuming WA pays around what I would see in OR. I feel hopeful after hearing your thoughts. I was worried you wouldn't be able to live comfortably on a nursing salary in OR. I'll look into peace health. I would love love love to work at OHSU
  7. by   oceanblue52
    Another thing to consider with living in WA/working in OR is the taxes. My understanding is that OR has no sales tax but very high income tax...WA is the complete opposite. Don't quite know how that would work with your paycheck and living situation but I think you are taxed income wise where your job is. Just something to consider.
  8. by   boywithacoin
    I think PeaceHealth might start slightly lower than places in Portland, but not by too much from a cursory glance. Looks like they will hire ADNs (BSN preferred, of course) and new grads.

    And what oceanblue52 said about income tax vs sales tax was my point about getting a job/living in vancouver. If you work in oregon, regardless of where you live, you'll have to pay income tax on salary earned in oregon, and we have, like, the second or third highest income tax in the country. Washington, on the other hand, has no income tax, but is in the top five highest in the country for sales tax. So folks who live and work in vancouver are able to take advantage of lower rents and no income tax, and hop the river to portland to buy consumer goods sales tax-free.


    You still haven't defined what living comfortably means to you, though. For my spouse and me, living comfortably means having a house with a garden, paying off our debts, and becoming financially independent so we can pursue the types of work that are more meaningful to us than just a paycheck*. My spouse works, so we have two incomes and no kids, but based on the way we spend/save money, we have been able to buy a house in the [inner] Portland market and pay off my student loans (after about 1.5 years of her working in her career and less than a year of me working in nursing). If she lost/quit her job, we'd still be able to afford our mortgage and expenses on my salary alone, we just wouldn't be able to save as much. It's more important to us to save and build our wealth now than go out all the time or have the newest technology, so while we do travel and go out to eat from time to time, we do it on the cheap and take as much advantage of free entertainment as we can (eg. the pnw is BEAUTIFUL and has amazing hiking options). Other than our mortgage and one measly student loan from her undergrad, we're debt-free and plan to keep it that way, even as I pursue grad school. But if living comfortably for you means sending your kid to private school, taking multiple huge vacations each year, buying a mcmansion, driving a BMW, and continuing your education, well...it might not be doable on a single nursing salary without incurring lots of debt.

    *I think that nursing (and my spouse's career, for that matter) is a meaningful job in general, but there are specific types of nursing serving specific communities that I want to pursue that don't always pay as well as working in a hospital with the general public.
  9. by   Moenine9
    Thanks for your reply! For me living comfortably means being finicially independent, afford a nice small house (since it's only my son and I), be able to afford to dine out once in awhile, perhaps even private school for my son (not sure how public schools are out there). I would say your definition is pretty on point to what I would consider living comfortably. Be able to afford a decent car. Have bills paid off. I don't have any school debt yet but if I did be able to pay those off releativly quickly. I also love the outdoors which is why I'm researching living out there. Sinclair to you, I also am interested in the non hospital jobs, such as Nurse family partnership. However with being a new grad I know hospital experience for he first few years is invaluable. Can one still maintain a comfortable lifestyle on non hospital nursing salaries? I know it depends on the job but in general? Once again I really appreciate your input!! Thank you for taking the time to reply!
  10. by   boywithacoin
    I'd say of course a person can maintain a comfortable lifestyle on non-hospital nursing salaries, it all just depends on your expenses, ability to save/build investments, and/or incur debt. But we all have different priorities and spending habits, so even with similar values and end-goals, our approaches may be wildly different. To be clear, I think that hospital-nursing salaries in the Portland area for BSN-prepared nurses are adequate for living here; I don't know non-hospital salaries here well enough at this point to comment on those.

    Let's estimate a hospital salary on the lower end of about $60k/yr and a higher end rent+util of $2k/mo. After state and federal income taxes (assuming this is an OR job), your take-home is about $43k/yr. Minus $24k/yr for rent+util, you have $19k for the rest of your expenses/savings for the year, which works out to about $1500/mo. Once you factor in groceries, childcare, car payment, health insurance premiums, etc., that $1500 can get eaten up pretty quickly. But that's what budgets and figuring out different tax credits and all that kind of jazz are for. These are the kinds of calculations I suggest doing to figure out if you can live comfortably by your terms, and why I suggested looking at what jobs are out there (both in terms of jobs you'd be interested in and what the salaries are like) and what kind of rentals are out there (costs of rent, if util are included, that sort of thing).
  11. by   Cvepo
    Housing is nuts here! Very few houses for sale, and those that are are selling for like 4x what they were assessed for. My husband and I are both hospital nurses here, and the housing is borderline unobtainable for us (at least within the city). Living further out helps, but the traffic is crazy. Get your BSN if you can! Good luck!

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