A Gaysian New Grad Murse Considering to Move to Austin, TX

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    Hello Texan nurses, especially the ones in Austin.

    I would like to ask from some guidance to see if moving to Austin would be a good fit for me. So obviously reading from the title of this post, you could see that I am the minority of minority of minority. ^^ I am a new grad, gay, and Asian. I recently got asked to visit Austin for an interview with St.David for the Telemetry floor of South Austin. From the look of it, they seem to be pretty desperate for hiring. I currently live in San Jose, Bay Area and it is impossible to find job anywhere here. I also want to move because I consider myself young and would like to travel more out of my comfort zone.

    However, it is such a big decision especially it concerns not only nursing-wise experience but also lifestyle and sometimes my living safety.

    My most concern is the gay and race thing: When I moved to this country from Vietnam, I have received nothing but positive feedbacks. Despite of my background as a newcomer, I have made so many friends regardless to their skin color or their sexual orientation. In fact, I never feel like I am strongly discriminated here. Sometimes ppl can be biased toward me but it has never been because of my race or sexual orientation. My friends told me that it is because I am really friendly and positive all the time so even when a giant bigot is bashing me I would not be so offended. Then I also realize I am in California, liberal is almost the ppl's middle name. And the laws are written to protect me. I wonder my experience would be different by anyway if I move to Austin, Tx. My friends are really worried by my safety and against me moving to Austin. I meant I would never demand for gay marriage or showing blatant PDA in public or have to broadcast that I am gay all the time or anything. And it would also not be the first time if someone ever calls me names.... ^^ but I would not want people just randomly beat me up because they suspect I am gay and Asian.... And also I heard rumor that in the gay population of Austin, they are actually the most racist of them all toward ppl like me? Is that true? Could any gay male nurse in Austin burst this prejudice statement for me?

    For nursing-wise: Do you think St.David is a good place to start? I understand it is a for-profit hospital and such, but really as a new grad, do I have any other choice? How is the patient-ratio over there if anyone know.

    For living situation: I am told the most I could ask out of St.David would be $22/hr. That is significantly low compared to where I am coming from, they pay per diem CNA almost 18 here already. And Austin is still a big city with not so inexpensive cost of living either. Would I be able to afford a OK apt for myself with a new grad's wage?

    Any input would be appreciated. And I also understand what I have heard could just be all rumors and biases as well. I hope I don't offend anyone with their love for the home state. Normally, I would never give in to stereotypical or prejudice statements and would like to test the place out by myself. However, I have some financial limitations and once I make the move it would be hard to move back to California. I hope I could get some reassurances on here before making any hasty move at my vulnerable stage of a new graduate.

    Thank you very much.
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

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    Sorry I cannot provide any Austin-specific insight for you, but I wanted to clarify some possible misconceptions.

    Texas has a significant Asian population. The long-established populations in major cities were supplemented with a very large influx of SE Asians subsequent to the VietNam war since the Texas Gulf Coast was a logical area for relocation - due to the familiarity of climate, industries, and large military presence/support system. Houston is (by the latest census data) the most diverse city in the US. Houston's current mayor is a lesbian who was re-elected by a very large majority.

    I know that this was not your intention, but as a native Texan, I was offended by your underlying message. Please do not accept the popular misconceptions about the 'cowboy culture' opinions of Texas. The frequently bizarre and ignorant viewpoints expressed by Texas politicians do not reflect the population. It's a huge geographic area, encompassing vast differences in geography, ethnicity, and culture.
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    I knew I was gonna step on someone's toes.... I apologize for that. I know I am just assuming the worst (you know how nursing school always tells you that for the NCLEX... lol). But to be honest, I am kinda glad that you were offended. Because that just shows that it was wrong and yes all of misconceptions.
    As I explained, I am about to make some big moving decisions. Making big decisions places you in such a vulnerable stage and most of the time you find yourselves giving in to misconceptions or prejudices in order to protect yourselves. Thank you very much for your input.
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    Austin is ridiculously liberal -- very LGBTQ/GSD-friendly and diverse. The fact that we harbor tons of ex-Californians is sort of a running joke. Our city's rallying cry is "Keep Austin Weird" and we're the live music capital of the world. Check out the Austin Chronicle (Austin News, Events, Restaurants, Music - The Austin Chronicle) for a good idea of what we've got going on. Things are crazy this week because it's SXSW, but in general, there's always something awesome to do.

    I work for a St. David's facility and am very happy with my job; I started as a GN nine months ago, and I intend to stay with the family of hospitals for a long time. We are frequently very high on "best places to work" lists, both healthcare-specific and citywide. I prefer working for a secular/for-profit hospital, because I disagree with some of the practices of Catholic hospitals. (The other big hospital system in town is Seton, which is Catholic/non-profit.) As for diversity, I work with people from many different countries, which is reflected in our awesome potlucks!

    Two bits of advice: visit before you make a decision, and don't move without a firm job offer. We do have a lot of nursing schools here, so there are lots of new grads who are hungry for hospital jobs.
  8. 0
    I live just outside of Austin. I grew up here on a farm. Unfortunately you will encounter racism and intolerance no matter where you go but I have never witnessed anyone get beat up or kicked out of somewhere based on race gender etc. if you experienced anything it may be the snide under the breath comments but I honestly don't think you would have to deal with that either. I have seen both gay and straight couples being told to get a room for over the top PDA so as long as you try not to cross that line you shouldn't have anything to worry about. By the way I grew up in an intolerant household and now have a very good bisexual friend who my parents live. Texas is defiantly getting more tolerant.
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    Hi Turtlelittle! Congrats on getting your job at St. Davids! I am from PA and applied to St. David's back in February and haven't heard a single thing. I feel like I may be stuck in their GN pool for a long time. I was wondering if you had any advice for me or if you did anything in particular that might help move along the process.
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    Native Austinite here. Yes Austin and most of the larger cities in Texas are much more open minded than the media would have you think. The LGBTQ communities here are pretty well intergrated and we have a substantial mixture of Asian cultures all over Austin; enough to support several predominately Asian malls and even a primarily Asian oriented weekly flea market so being of Asian origin is not an issue per se.

    A salary of $22/hr (or even $19-21) is quite sufficient to afford renting a decent apartment especially in south Austin where the St Davids satellite facility is located. I will advise you like I do everyone moving into Austin proper to consider trying to get close to a bus line or light rail line to cut down on the hassle of dealing with Austin commuter traffic. You wouldn't encounter as much of a problem living south and working south but many of the connecting roads in south Austin are old and not designed to handle the sheer number of vehicles from 6 AM-8:30 AM and 3 PM to 6:30 PM every day so riding the bus is a blessing if you live close enough to a stop. In addition the parking at South Austin Hospital can be a challenge at times.

    The hospital itself has a pretty darn good reputation and being for profit does not means it is run ruthlessly. The other major hospital chain is Seton and although it is labeled non profit it is run along about the same lines as St Davids. All of them monitor expenses closely and use the same basic business philosophy so to speak. Just because a non profit doesn't return dividends to shareholders doesn't mean it can afford to run in the red or that it doesn't need to make a profit to succeed.
  11. 2
    hmm....I am white (italian, but in the summer i am mistake for mexican), female, straight, married and live in houston. so i am kind of the opposite, but nonetheless....
    I am a Jersey Girl, born and raised, proud of it. my make up will always be a bit too much for work, i have a potty mouth (not in front of patients though! :-) , i giggle sometimes too frequently and too loudly and perhaps for too long and no one has to wonder whether or not I am there at work because I make my presence known.

    THAT SAID, when my boyfriend and i(now hes my husband) at the time graduated Penn State in 2009, jobs were rough. we moved to houston and hoped for the best, fully intending on moving home when we chose to have kids. nonetheless, we are happy here for now.

    i was a sad little Yankee when i saw that texas and particuarly houston wasn't full of cowboys and indians and not everyone sounded like george bush. but the reality is that if you ask a a native Texan why Texas (and their city in particular) is awesome, be prepared to stay seated a few minutes. accept that you are the newbie here and take it as a exercise in cultural acclimation.

    a motto in the austin area is "keep austin weird!". pretty much sums it up.

    austin has (obviously) UT- austin. HUGE college and grad town full of crazy people with smart brains. it has a big hippie/ earth mom jive going on, if thats what you are in to.

    yes, people say "ya'll" constantly, even if they are speaking to only you. the plural form of "ya'll" is apparently "all ya'll".

    i live in west houston in particular and it is jam packed with fillipino, vietnamese and indian immigrants. and of course mexican families. makes for some pretty good food choices. Austin is beef country so come hungry.

    Austin has a sweet music scene, as evidenced by the huge SXSW festival that goes on every year. As a whole, I would say that Texans ARE more conservative, socially and politically. however, any person worth spending your time with and any employer worth working for will respect you because you are a human and a RN with a brain and a heart.

    oddly enough, i had a patient's grandson go on an epic tirade to an unsuspecting speech therapist about how nurses should put a syringe full of air into rush limbaugh. and how he should of been OD'd, "pillow therapy" and other bizarre things by nurses.

    so, being Jersey fabulous, i spun right around and i said "um excuse me, quit it. you dont know what youre talking about. limbaugh was never treated in our facility, FIRSTLY, and secondly,nurses don't pick and chose who it is ok to put air embolisms into. im a nurse and i dont give a damn about your political or religious views."

    it shut him up. people are people where ever you live. some are homophobes, some are general jerks. you will find friends and make a life you enjoy where ever you live. that is your responsibility as a happy and well adjusted adult.
    Bubbles and meraki86 like this.
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    I was originally from California, but don't live in Austin or anywhere near it. However, I can offer some helpful comparisions with the cost of living for both states.

    In California, you pay a state income tax. Ouch. Also, property/home costs (the building and utilities) tend to be higher, and fuel tends to cost more due to the added environmental taxes.

    In Texas, there is NO state income tax (BIG savings there), but depending on the locale, property and sales taxes can either be equivalent to or a bit more than California. In my area (west Texas), the cost of living is below the national average, sales tax is 8.25%, property tax (county) is about 1.5% of the appraised value each year, and the average cost of a nice home with an actual roomy front and backyard (unlike California's postage-stamp lots) ranges from $120,000 to $200,000. I'm sure Austin's housing market is more expensive, but don't know by how much. But, try finding anything like that in the Golden State, lol! Food and other store purchases are about equal between both states, in my experience.

    Overall, I'm getting a better deal as a nurse here in Texas; clean air, open space, friendly people, a fair pay rate, and less bureaucratic hassle. The disadvantages I've found here in my area are the repercussions that may occur from that lack of regulation (still remember the bad massive tire fire at an alleged "recycling center", and yet I hear the operation continues as usual) and no oceans/mountains within driving distance of each other. I was from the Sacramento area, so that was an adjustment.

    Hope it helps!


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