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Information on nursing in MT?

Posted

Specializes in RN- Med/surg.

I read through this forum last night and didn't find much here that is recent. I'd like some general information on nursing in MT. My husband and I might be considering moving there (unsure of what area)...but we both love MT when we've visited or driven through. BUT- I'd love to know things such as nurse/pt ratios, nursing conditions, union/non-union, pay, cost of living etc.

We live in MN right now- so harsh winters aren't an issue. He loves the midwest- but I'm from the east coast and miss mountains- and the east coast has NOTHING on MT for beautiful landscape!

Anyway- any info would be appreciated! Thanks!

AprilRNhere

Specializes in RN- Med/surg.

bump

anyone?

husker_rn, RN

Specializes in med-surg 5 years geriatrics 12 years.

Hi. I may not be the best source for current info but here goes...Lived in the Billings area for several years but left the state in '03. Wages were not as good as I make here in Ok. Only one area was union that I knew of and wages were still low. And housing also was much higher than my home state or here in Ok. The cost of living is higher since things are trucked. I worked agency in small hospitals and LTCs so cannot comment on staffing levels in the bigger towns. But despite it all I loved the time I lived there and if it were not for a spouse with COPD I would still be there. Good luck...hope I helped a wee bit.

ruralnurs

Specializes in Psych, ER, OB, M/S, teaching, FNP. Has 10 years experience.

Hi, I live in Mt. Much of what you are asking depends on where you will be and what type of nursing you are in. Eastern Mt doesn't have as much in the way of mountains, still pretty in its own way though.....

NW MT has the best mountains, but is also higher cost of living, there is skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and every water sport you can think of so lots of rich people from other states come here and it drives up the cost of living with the 3 million $ homes.

Some places are union and some are not, not union usually means a bit less pay unless you are a specialty nurse. Even then expect a wage decrease, some people tell me by 5-10 $ per hour. I think new grads start in the low 20s.

I have friends that are travel nurses and I guess they do OK. It can be hard if you have specialized someplace and then get sent to a rural facility which Mt has lots of. I have worked with some excellent and expereinced travel nurses that freak when they work with us because you are expected to mix your own drugs (we have no in house pharm), be able to care for an MI or trauma in the ER, manage a labor in OB, and work with an ICU patient with various drips as well as regular med/surg pts.

many people choose Missoula as it has two hospital and is near the NW and has lots of Mt "feel" but people are greatly surprised to find out it has one of the worse polution problems in the US. It has an inversiona nd it the winter it is bad. I live aobut 75 miles from there and hate to have to go there in winter because it smells.

Bozeman is also a "yuppy" place and many people want to move there. Also very high cost of living.

What does you husband do? What type opf nursing are you looking to do? Do you have kids that will be in achool? Any more questions?

cvssc

Specializes in L&D telephone triage. Has 12 years experience.

It's been 10 years, but moved from MS (outside of Memphis TN where I worked) to Kalispell,MT. Pay cut was $4/hour, but I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Plan on traveling so I can. Worked M/S could have up to 9 patients, but had great CNAs.

nord11

Specializes in ICU/CCU, Med-Surg, ER, Home-Health, Corr. Has 22 years experience.

I have lived in the northwest corner of Montana for 5 years now. Going to move this coming June when my daughter graduates from highschool. It has changed alot here in 5 years - not for the better I might add. Cost of living has gone up quite a bit. Nursing here REALLY sucks in my opinion. We are union where I am and that does help keep some of the crap off us. I work in a very small hospital considered a critical access hospital (25 beds). We have a pretty good nursing staff, but the administration just stinks - no management I would say and things over the last year have rapidly gone downhill. The next hospital is 1.5 hrs away either east or west (that is summer travel time at 70 + mph - at least 2 if it is winter).Yes it is beautiful where I am, surrounded by mountains, trees, crystal clear lakes and rivers - and the deer that walk down the street during the day and night(and that is downtown by the way). LOTS of alcohol and drug usage as well. I would say just visit and enjoy it or just do the move and see if it works for you. It has just become old for me personally and I can't continue to work where I am for much longer (nothing else to choose from here unless you move). Be very careful if you do decide to move this way and take some time to REALLY look around and understand what you are willing to live with and live without (if you end up in a very small town away from everything). Larger towns/cities are also different in there own way - good and bad there too. Good luck with what you end up doing in the long run.

ruralnurs

Specializes in Psych, ER, OB, M/S, teaching, FNP. Has 10 years experience.

I have lived in the northwest corner of Montana for 5 years now. Going to move this coming June when my daughter graduates from highschool. It has changed alot here in 5 years - not for the better I might add. Cost of living has gone up quite a bit. Nursing here REALLY sucks in my opinion. We are union where I am and that does help keep some of the crap off us. I work in a very small hospital considered a critical access hospital (25 beds). We have a pretty good nursing staff, but the administration just stinks - no management I would say and things over the last year have rapidly gone downhill. The next hospital is 1.5 hrs away either east or west (that is summer travel time at 70 + mph - at least 2 if it is winter).Yes it is beautiful where I am, surrounded by mountains, trees, crystal clear lakes and rivers - and the deer that walk down the street during the day and night(and that is downtown by the way). LOTS of alcohol and drug usage as well. I would say just visit and enjoy it or just do the move and see if it works for you. It has just become old for me personally and I can't continue to work where I am for much longer (nothing else to choose from here unless you move). Be very careful if you do decide to move this way and take some time to REALLY look around and understand what you are willing to live with and live without (if you end up in a very small town away from everything). Larger towns/cities are also different in there own way - good and bad there too. Good luck with what you end up doing in the long run.

Are you in 56 cty? Sounds like it????? I may be moving there next summer to work as an FNP.

nord11

Specializes in ICU/CCU, Med-Surg, ER, Home-Health, Corr. Has 22 years experience.

Libby, MT

ruralnurs

Specializes in Psych, ER, OB, M/S, teaching, FNP. Has 10 years experience.

I thought your description sounded like Libby. I have lots of family there and lived there for awhile (I was born and raised in Montana) I work in Plains, also tiny CA hospital and a long way from anywhere, and high COL, and staffing challenges, lots of drugs, alcohol, extreme poverty, lack of services so people use the ER for most health care.

We have had lots of people come here from larger cities in other states wanting to "live in the mountains", "off the grid", "be out in the wild", only to realize it is not all fun and games like in the movies. We have nurses apply and interview (our DON lets us, the nurses, do the interview) and they find out they will be getting $5-$10 less per hour, work lots of weekends, and have to take call 3 days per month. And you have to truly be a rural nurse here, you are expected to do ER, ICU, M/S, OB and OR. They usually do not stay.

The job I am looking at is at the Community Health Center in Libby as an FNP. Do you have any opinions about them?

nord11

Specializes in ICU/CCU, Med-Surg, ER, Home-Health, Corr. Has 22 years experience.

Don't really know that much about the CHC, just work with the doc's. Doc's are OK.

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