Working in hospitals

  1. Hi everybody! Let me start by saying I know it is very tacky and unprofessional to discuss pay but I am really looking for advice and thought this was the best way to find it.

    I will be starting nursing school next fall (finishing pre-reques now) in St. Louis. I know it is hard for new nurses to find jobs and I have been told to get a job at a hospital so I have an "in" when I graduate. I currently work as a dental receptionist making $17.50 I support my 2 kids and myself as a single mom. I own a home and must work. If I get a job as a unit secretary or PCT (after 90 days of clinicals) I am afraid I won't make enough to support myself. If I don't switch jobs, I am afraid I will not be able to get a job when I graduate.

    What advice do you future nurses have for me? If you work as a PCT or unit secretary do you mind sharing your pay and years of experience to help me make my decision.

    I appreciate your taking time to read this and any advice you have!
  2. Visit ant2cory profile page

    About ant2cory

    Joined: Jun '13; Posts: 138; Likes: 55
    from MO


    I'm a CNA with two years of experience and I work in Acute care. I make 15.50 working weekend night shift with the shift differential. My hospital system also pays an extra 4 hrs per week if you work three consecutive weekend shifts (e.g. Fri, sat, sun)
  4. by   green34
    I make 12.96 an hour with an extra dollar an hour after 7 pm and an additional .45 cents an hour after working on the weekends. I also work as a medic in the same ER and I make 16.50 plus a dollar an hour. I live in a part of town where the average family makes like 40,000 a year.
  5. by   kp1987
    Quote from green34
    I make 12.96 an hour with an extra dollar an hour after 7 pm and an additional .45 cents an hour after working on the weekends. I also work as a medic in the same ER and I make 16.50 plus a dollar an hour. I live in a part of town where the average family makes like 40,000 a year.
    Average person or family? If family wow that is low! What's the cost if living there is you don't mind me asking and where? The average family income here is like 100,000 a year what a difference!
  6. by   kp1987
    What is the average cost of living! Darn iPhone
  7. by   Georgia peach RN
    Are you planning to move to GA? Im confused about why you are looking at pay scale / cost of living in GA.
  8. by   KelRN215
    I don't live in your area, but I live in a well-paying, high cost of living area and I highly doubt that you can make $17.50/hr as a PCT or secretary. They make like $10-$12/hr around here.
  9. by   green34
    The family of four can support themselves on 40,000. The weird thing is that we also have rich communities mixed in though where the families are millionaires. My friend's parents lived in a gated community.

    The house my boyfriend bought that has 2 acres was 130,000 and that's because it's in the middle of nowhere. Literally middle of nowhere. Houses closer to town cost about 70,000-190,000 for around 3 to 4 bedrooms and they are decent houses.

    Honestly though, healthcare is really the only thing that the town has going on. I don't know how we can support having 3 level I trauma centers with several level II and level III trauma centers. The larger cities in the state do not have 3 level I trauma centers. We have the med school and each competing health care system has to have a level I trauma center along with the two children's hospitals. We pretty much have two of everything. Psych hospitals? The 2nd and 3rd largest in the state along with peds lock down units. If there is a specialty out there, we probably have two of it. Heck, helicopters? If you can't get one service to fly you ask for the other helicopter service and they will try to appear more manly. Need a mobile unit? If we can't get our service's mobile unit, then the other one will provide us with one.

    The large city next me has an average family income of 48,000 with an average home price of 60,000. Cost of living is low. Gas here is about 3.50 a gallon. Water is cheaper (although we have well water right now. It sucks!). Electricity is dirt cheap. Even food is pretty cheap.

    Also, the RNs start out at about 24 dollars an hour if you are in my system. The new grads for the other one start out about 20 dollars during the new nursing orientation thing then they go up to around 24 dollars. However, they have better arrangements. I plan on getting hired in my system and taking the money for the BSN. Then leaving after 5 years (so I'll be vested) and heading over to the competitor.

    The cost of living is low, but we are also poor and a lot of people are unemployed here because the factories are shutting down. A lot of my classmates are either in healthcare or they still work at grocery/retail stores if they remained in the area. It's not as bad as some of the other cities though in the area but it's not good. If I break up with my boyfriend, I will remain in the state but I'd probably head south towards the capital of the state where my sisters live.

    Also, I do not know if I get a little bonus for being a paramedic since my unit clerk title is unit clerk/pct. My friend is a pct/unit clerk and she made 11.something an hour full-time when I was a pct/unit clerk for 3 months, I made 12.50 an hour plus .45 cents an hour since I was 2nd shift. However, she is just a nursing student whereas I was a nursing student and paramedic. Third shift usually pays more like I said I get an additional dollar an hour.

    Also, I don't know if you will want to work full-time. I drove myself nuts and dropped my grades last semester when I did two clinicals at the same time and worked 36-48 hours a week. There were some days I was at school 6:30 am to 3:30 and turned around and worked 7 pm to 7 am as a unit clerk. I did not work as a paramedic those shifts but sometimes I would come in and find out I am a paramedic for four hours.

    One option is to find a supplemental position and pick up an occasional weekend. Our nurse externs work every third weekend and they pick up hours now and then.
    Last edit by green34 on Jul 16, '13
  10. by   Guy in Babyland
    Don't quit your job just to take a pay cut to work at a hospital. CNA/PCT experience when applying for a RN job is not that crucial since you are working at a dental office.

    I would take a weekend job one day week at the hospital and keep your current job.
  11. by   ant2cory
    Thanks for the replies everyone! I have been thinking about it more and more and I think it would be best to find a position where I can work just one day a week at the hospital. That way, I will still have an "in" but not loose the money I make now.
    I do plan on working full time while in school. I am attending an evening and weekend part time BSN program and most of the students continue to work full time the entire time. I am pretty sure I can do it.
    @ Georgia Peach RN, I am not sure where I said anything about GA. If it is in there anywhere it is a typo. I plan on staying in STL. I may eventually (10+ years from now) move to Florida where my sister lives.
  12. by   tigerlogic
    I started off as a hospital CNA (after some experience working in LTC and a previous career) at 14.80 plus 1.90 night differential. I got a 0.60/hr raise a year later. It's good experience and makes a lot of nursing school make more sense.
  13. by   BSNbeDONE
    Don't quit your job. There is no guarantee you will be hired in the hospital even after working there as a tech. I work with a monitor tech who graduated nursing school and became an RN. Because the manager had no one to fill the monitor tech position, she would not approve an RN position for this woman. And she blocked the woman's transfer to another unit at the hospital. This poor woman had to resign from the hospital and REAPPLY in order to get out of that role as monitor tech. We were all so happy to see her walk down the hall in her nursing colors as her preceptor from another unit went through the orientation to the facility, even though this now-new nurse had been with the hospital for 7 years before being forced to resign.

    OP, think long and hard before quitting your job. Even hospital CNAs have no 'nursing' experience and that's what the managers really look at when they're hiring. So you have as equal a chance at employment as anybody with your current position. Dont add financial strain to your list of stressors that a new grad faces. Good luck to you and keep doing what you're doing.
  14. by   applewhitern
    Wow. $17.50 per hour for a dental receptionist in my area would be very good pay! Our new grad RN's make about $19. Since you don't know what the future holds, keep your job. Anything could happen, and you could end up not being able to graduate. BTW, a dental receptionist in my area would make half that, or less.