moving from San Fran to Denver

  1. Hello everyone,

    Luckily, I have happened upon this discussion board by accident -- I am looking for information re: Denver,CO area hospitals: working environments and pay. etc. I am originally a Connecticut RN (Hartford), always ICU/CCU/CVICU (17 years experience). Last wages in CT were around $29/hr (2002). I have been working for the last 18 months per-diem in San Francisco, CA, for $51-54/hr base pay ($41-44/hr benefited),and am considering a relocation to Denver for family reasons. The Bay Area is an INCREDIBLE place to live, with a fabulous income potential, but I know I could never own a home like I did in CT (that was $200-250K, whereas here they START at $500-600K++), besides which I miss real family/friends connections.

    I am already aware that wages in Denver are much less than SF, however as I peruse online apartment info, I have discovered that desirable LoDo apts/homes are not really any cheaper than SF rentals! I currently pay $1600 for a 1 BR apt in beautiful Sausalito, CA (just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin) w/ an SPECTACULAR full view of SF, the Bay, the boats, etc.

    I am looking at a potential November 2004 relocation. I may have to do agency until after the holidays, as I am intending to spend them with my family.

    What I would like to know is:

    What are the best Denver hospitals for ICU nursing - specifically, are there any 'dedicated' CVICU's (my preference - ie, only "hearts" are in that unit)
    What is the pay for regular and per-diem and registry/agency? Differentials?
    How is the management approach - ie, self-governance, and/or less regimented/restrictive, etc?
    Which hospitals/agencies pay the best?
    What about travel agencies/contracts?

    Also, what are the various differentials - in CT, we got 15% more for eves, and 25% more for permanent nights,; also, everyone got 25% more for weekends, and time-and-a half for holidays or over 40 hrs/week. Out here in CA, one gets time-and-a half for anything over 8 hrs in a day or 40 hrs in a week (state law), but either nothing or minimal for weekends/off-shifts; plus, benefited positions MUST work every other weekend, whether they are 12 hrs or 8 hrs. In CT, we had every third weekend -- I have yet to find anyone out here that offers that. What is the deal in Denver/Boulder?

    I appreciate your responses!
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    About SanFran to Denver

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 2


  3. by   kc ccurn
    Okay, I am going to sound biased but....I work at Swedish and feel that we have probably one of the best units in the city. We are not a dedicated CVICU. We are a 42 bed unit, seperated into 5 pods-8 beds on 4 pods, 10 beds on the 5th. We care for a variety of patients: post op OH, IABP, post cath lab intervention, we are a level I trauma hospital, pediatrics, surgical medical, neuro, neurosurgical and a comprehensive stroke center. We try to place our neurosurgical pt's in a specific pod, trauma in another but it depends on where we are open for admits. Our nurses love the variety and different experiences we receive caring for a variety of patients.

    I would imagine that with 17 years experience you would conceivably start in the high $20 per hour, more if you are per diem in leu of benefits. We have a weekend plan that gets more for shift differential and weekend differential. I think that the shift differential is 15% but don't quote me on that. Full and part time positions have benefits, you pay more if you are part time. Per diem doesn't have benefits but they get paid more hourly. We have time and a half for holidays. Over time is not mandatory but they have a pretty good incentive package for working over time. If you are scheduled 24 hrs a week and pick up an extra shift, it's for time and a half. Over 36 hrs gets double time for extra shifts. We also get 16 hrs paid education time a year along with paid time off and illness bank.

    We work 12 hour shifts. A few people work 8 hr days and others pick up the other 4 hrs to match it. As far a scheduling is concerned, we have a day shift scheduler and a night shift scheduler. My day shift scheduler is very flexible and willing to work with you as long as the shifts are covered. We are required to work every 3rd weekend. Our manager is AWESOME! I have worked with her for 12 years now. She still works at the bedside so she knows intimately what we are dealing with.

    As far as housing is concerned, it varies depending on what part of the city you are in. It can be anywhere from $150,000- 1 million. The average home sold last year was $250-275,000 range-ish though.

    Last edit by nightingale on Jun 5, '04