Travel assignment at Oakland Kaiser...wanting to live in San Fran

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    Hey all! I have about a week or two left until I get my CA license and was offered a job in Oakland at the Kaiser facility starting August 15. I've heard mixed things, but I feel like that is with any hospital. Been to San Fran and definitely want to live there, no questions asked. However the only time I've ever heard of Oakland is unfortunately in scary violent rap songs, haha!! Any input? I'd be driving/taking BART in to Oakland according to my recruiter. Looks like the drive time is about 20-30 mins, not sure about BART time. Anyone from that area with advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!! This will be my first travel assignment and I'm coming all the way from Florida, so I'm a little nervous. Any tips about the area/company would be awesome!
  2. 16 Comments so far...

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    Drive time from SF will be a lot more than that!! You to figure in traffic time, especially over the Bay Bridge. Definitely take BART. The BART Station on the Oakland side is a bit sketchy but I think there is a free shuttle to take you to Kaiser, which is on the edge of a really nice, fun neighborhood with great restaurants.
    theleaf and palmbeachRN like this.
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    Don't let Oakland scare you. Like any urban city, there are very bad areas, very nice ones, and everything in between. Kaiser Oakland happens to be (as the previous poster wrote) right on the edge of a really cool neighborhood with lots of great restaurants all along Piedmont Ave. I went to nursing school and lived on campus less than a half mile from there.

    Honestly, you'll probably be a lot happier with your experience during this assignment if you live in Oakland or Berkeley. You'll save money, getting to work will be wayyyy easier, there's plenty of great restaurants and entertainment in the area (Piedmont Ave, Shattuck, Jack London Square, all super fun areas) and if you want to go in to SF to do something it's easy to do.

    For the money, San Francisco's a better place to visit/day-trip than to live.
    theleaf likes this.
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    Should probably add that I had my med/surg and peds clinicals at Kaiser Oakland. I also have a good friend who works in their ER, and have taken my father-in-law there for care. Overall, folks seem pretty happy working there. At least as much as anywhere else.
    theleaf likes this.
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    I agree with the other posters. I went to school in S.F. and lived in Oakland and my commute was WAY longer than 20-30min.. I had to be at school by 8am in SF... If I did not pick up carpoolers to cross the bay bridge, I would have to leave my house at 6am. If you pick up carpoolers, then the HOV land moves quicker, but still longer than 20 min.
    Bart is good, but you have to make time for breakdowns, as they do happen from time to time and that will ruin your commute. I would say live in Oakland, near Kaiser. As long as you stay away from area below Macarthur Blvd in East Oakland, you should be fine. Above Macarthrur Blvd in East Oakland, Peidmont, some parts of West Oakland, North Oakland and Downtown you should like and your commute will be a lot easier and cheaper.
    Good Luck..
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    Agreed about living in the East Bay. I loved it and you could get an apt within walking distance of Kaiser. Try the Amabassador on Harrison.
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    Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate the feedback!!!!
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    There are some lovely apartments around Lake Merrit in Oakland; and the Kaiser is just at the start of Piedmont Ave--food lovers paradise. Home of the Famous Fenton's Ice Cream Parlor featured in UP! I've lived in both areas and found SF harder to maneuver; Berkeley/Oakland is just more livable in my humble opinion.
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    Quote from Mike A. Fungin RN
    Should probably add that I had my med/surg and peds clinicals at Kaiser Oakland. I also have a good friend who works in their ER, and have taken my father-in-law there for care. Overall, folks seem pretty happy working there. At least as much as anywhere else.
    I gotta say I also had my final M/S clinical there and I had an entirely different experience. Mine was this spring so maybe things have changed since Mike has been there. Where to begin, first I guess would be that the ratio is less 1, 4-1 vs 5-1 which sounds great, but with that they stripped out ALL the support staff. Since the nurse has one less person to care for she/he can take care of all the little stuff... Not!

    There is 1 PCT per unit, no lvns, dietary doesn't deliver food trays to the bed side. They come cold and are put in the unit fridge for the nurse. If the unit has multiple confused patients the PCT is sitting for 1, the rest are hogtied to the bed. If the PCT isn't sitting she/he doesn't have a defined role and does random things like delivering food trays to feeders, dumping finished trays or putting people in chairs without telling you.

    The shift typically began with a "huddle" meeting where the manager would discuss whatever he thought was important for the day (0700-0715). Shift reports (0715-730+). So now you have 30 mins or less for vitals, accuchecks, 0800 meds, insulin, microwaving and delivering breakfasts. Have feeders or confused pt's? too bad someone isn't getting breakfast on time. Niceties like refilling water pitchers was non existent. Most days meds were late, even with the seasoned vets. Same went for lunch time, have a noon med, feeder, etc? either deliver lunches way early or late. Following the trend, bathing, ADLs, and ambulation.. yes walking our pt's never happened or was extremely rare. from the greenhorn to the veteran. After a 3 or 4 day stay, Im shocked more pt's didn't complain about sitting in their own stink.

    On any given day 1/2 the dynamaps and workstations on wheels were broken, so there was usually a free for all looking for working equipment. The pyxis was always missing medications, daily, every day. Which meant walking to the next unit hoping they had some, "borrowing" someone else's insulin or a call and wait for the pharmacy. Setup for a med error anyone?

    I made friends with a traveler who told me it was the most disorganized unit he had ever worked on. I also hung out with one of the most competent staff nurses and I had to ask her what the heck she was doing there. She admitted she needed the prime benefits and insurance for her kids, and she got her malpractice insurance as soon as she started.

    When clinicals were over I thanked god no one was hurt and ran for the door.
    Last edit by eleectrosaurus on Jul 22, '12 : Reason: more to dish.
    katkonk likes this.
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    I've worked at Kaiser Oakland and liked it. I've also done travel assignments around the Bay area: the peninsula, SF city (two different hospitals), Marin, Sonoma, and Monterey. My suggestion is to live where you work, you will be able to experience the area and save significant commuting time. The East Bay is just as worth experiencing as SF (warmer too) and while Oakland is completely livable, you can also choose Berkeley right next door (the "border is about a mile from Kaiser). You can always go into the city on your days off. Save living in SF for when you land an assignment there. I loved every area I've lived, and since I lived nearby, I was able to commute by bicycle.

    You can commute from SF to Oakland if you work the day shift. That is the so-called reverse commute and traffic is semi-tolerable. Forget about it on the night shift, at least by car.

    You didn't mention your specialty, and it is important to your travel experience at Kaiser. Most of the failed (or at least miserable) assignments at Kaiser have to do with your organizational skills and aptitude for floating. The issue is structural. Staff works 8 hour shifts, travelers work 12 hour shifts. Do the math, and you will see the potential for floating twice a shift. Too late now as you've already accepted, but just get into that mindset now. You can do anything for 13 weeks.

    I do OR so I didn't float (well, brisk changing surgery assignments is similar), but I met travelers in other specialties in the staffing office (separate trip to office required to sign a timecard before and after your shift if they still use the same system) who had been there for over a year and asked them how they coped and they said they just go used to it. It will certainly enhance your clinical abilities and organizational skills. Coming from Florida, you may find it a breeze anyway with lower workloads from lower patient ratios.


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