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Atlanta vs Dallas opportunities

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bigbearnurse has 6 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

851 Profile Views; 25 Posts

Cardiac RN here with 6 years experience considering relocation for a staff position in Atlanta or Dallas. Still in very early planning stages, but I have researched  Emory in Atlanta or UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Does anyone have personal experience with the regions or medical centers they'd be willing to share?  My main points of consideration are:

*salary relative to cost of living. How far does my hourly wage go? Retirement perks?

*overall nurse culture and happiness. Rewarding work environment? Opportunity for advancement?

*cities. I like both. Less familiar with Dallas. Looking for safe areas where I'd one day likely purchase a home. (Althoug I hear TX property taxes are insane). 

*Houston may be a distant 3rd place runner up. But I don't think I could deal with the heat 🙂

Thanks in advance for any info, everyone.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 5,905 Posts; 47,130 Profile Views

Hi Bigbear. I live in the Big D but never in Atlanta, so I can help with one side of the equation.

Property taxes here are nuts and going higher every year. That being said, real estate in general is some of the lowest in the nation, though that too is escalating as more and more big companies relocate headquarters here. What Texas does have though is NO state income tax. That helps. A lot.

Generally the cost of living to wages ratio in Dallas are considered to be some of the best in the nation. As a cardiac nurse with 6 years of experience, generally you will be offered in the low to mid $30s per hour.

UTSW is a good hospital system with decent benefits compared to most, including tuition benefits for yourself and any kids you have, as it is tied to the University of Texas. I have had friends who work there and they seem to enjoy good team work. It is, of course, a teaching hospital, so you will see all sorts of things there. UTSW partners with Parkland Health and Hospital System (The Dallas County safety net hospital with the busiest ER in the nation), who does not do cardiac surgery, so all the indigent that come in with acute heart issues get sent to UTSW for care if they are found to need CABG etc.

Generally speaking, Texas is an employer's state. That means no unions and employment at will. Nurses are well regarded in the community and wages seem stable, but not really increasing. Be sure if you move here to negotiate for the rate you want, as you won't get much of a raise after hiring in. UTSW has a reputation for low balling according to some I have talked to. Weigh out the whole package, not just the hourly wage.

Let me know if I can answer any more questions about Dallas for you and good luck whatever you decide.

 

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bigbearnurse has 6 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

25 Posts; 851 Profile Views

Thanks for the insight. I don't know if I could swing low 30s with big D cost of living -  I live in Mississippi and make base $30. Any thoughts on Houston? I hear it may be marginally cheaper. I'm single, so buying a home and swallowing all those prop taxes alone would be a bitter pill lol. However, most TX nurses I've come across sound relatively satisfied, so it sounds worthwhile to possibly explore a travel contract to see for myself. I'm planning a trip to Dallas to the state fair in October to satisfy all my childhood nostalgia and deep fried food fantasies, so maybe I'll take a look then! 

 

Thanks again.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 5,905 Posts; 47,130 Profile Views

I think a travel contract is an excellent idea. I could be wrong, but there does not seem to be much difference between DFW and Houston when it comes to pay and cost of living.

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Nurse from Atlanta here. I actually work outside of the city limits. Cost of living and housing inside the perimeter in the nice areas is insane. Hard to buy a house without a bidding war. Or paying out your ***. Cost of living is going up everywhere and the housing market seems to be booming. Not much to say about Texas but we are thinking of relocating out there possibly as well for new opportunities 

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bigbearnurse has 6 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

25 Posts; 851 Profile Views

Thanks for your input on the cost of living/housing in the market. Nowhere is safe lol. Which do you think is a better hospital to work for, Piedmont ATL or Emory? 

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16 hours ago, bigbearnurse said:

Thanks for your input on the cost of living/housing in the market. Nowhere is safe lol. Which do you think is a better hospital to work for, Piedmont ATL or Emory? 

 I worked for Piedmont Health system outside of the city limits in nursing school as the tech. I would not recommend. I have never worked for Emory but I know a few people who do their float pool and they like it  

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bigbearnurse has 6 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

25 Posts; 851 Profile Views

Thanks for your reply. Can you say more about why you wouldn't recommend Piedmont. Just curious about the pros and cons. 

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Don’t know much about there atlanta campus but the campus I worked for had poor management on the floor. House supervisors were unsupportive at times. Bad ratios. Overworked nurses. But nurses were great. Made some great friends there. Teamwork was a must. But I ended up not accepting an rn position there because the management. 

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RNewbie specializes in Trauma-Surgical, Case Management, Clinic.

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I live in Dallas. I used to work at UTSW full time and prn. With 6 years of experience you can expect to make low $30s. Float pool with night and weekend diff pays well. I learned that working prn at UTSW gave me the best bang for my buck because they offer what they call critical ($150) and double critical ($300) incentive bonuses when they are short staffed. They seem to be short staffed a lot so I would just wait until they call offering double critical. You get your pay rate, plus differentials, plus the $300 bonus that shift. The health insurance was good. I don't remember about the retirement. The hospital is new and everything is top of the line. The ratios on med/surg were 5:1 and the cardiac unit was probably 4:1. Although they were always initially short staffed, they always found nurses to cover the shifts. It's a great place to work, I ended up leaving because full time with benefits was not financially working for me. 

Also, I've been in Dallas for 3 years. Purchased a home when I first moved here. Housing prices are steadily increasing. The property taxes are crazy. My mortgage has gone up $100 every year due to taxes. I'm single so if this continues I guess I'll have to sell or get a room mate. The cost of living is not that cheap here either. 

HCA hospitals seem to pay the best here. They are all over. All locations don't have the best reputation but they aren't that bad. I've worked at one. You could probably make around $45 base not including differentials, and around $50 if you don't need benefits. They also give sign on bonuses and tuition assistance.

Baylor does have seasonal positions for $40-50 but I'm not sure what happens when your contract is over if you can renew it at the same pay rate or what. I've never worked there.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 5,905 Posts; 47,130 Profile Views

That is the first time in the history of ever I have seen someone state HCA pays the best in this area. Interesting.

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bigbearnurse has 6 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac.

25 Posts; 851 Profile Views

Thank you for responding. This info has been really helpful. I'm generally looking for a place where I don't have to work so much PRN in addition to my full time job. I'm getting burned out. Do you remember what the weekend and/or night differential was at UTSW? I don't like the idea of HCA hospitals but if the money is right I would possibly consider it. 

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