I started working at the University Hospital in Edmonton last September. Big change from Manitoba, let me tell you. For one thing, the hospital is brand new, filled with natural light and doesn't look or feel like a hospital. It's more like a mall!
Alberta has refined regionalization is some amazing ways, such as decentralizing labs/ diagnostic testing so that outpatients can go to the site closest their homes for tests. I had my health screening (TB status, Hep B status etc) done at the hospital up the road rather than driving all the way to the U.
The work is
well... work. Some things are done very differently and take some getting used to. I can't get over how much charting we do!!
And we're duplicating what's already been charted by someone else. I mean, do I really need to write in my nurse's notes that I got report from the previous shift? Or that the orders have been reviewed, when we both signed to that effect IN the orders...
The U has a huge problem with growing too fast for the services to keep up with it. There isn't enough staff parking for new people, and so we are forced to park in a rented parkade a couple of blocks away for our weekday day shifts. This place has no security, the elevator doors don't open all the way and close before you can get off, it's filthy and we have to park on the 12th to 14th levels.
The contract thing is looking like it will be a bad scene. The provincial health authorities want to roll back almost every good thing about the contract. And the mediator the government (read: The Employer) appointed is just giving them what they want. Nurses do not have the right to strike here, so we may end up in a wildcat, illegal strike over all this. And there's a gag order on proceedings so we can't even get the public on our side.
As for living in Alberta, it has its good parts and not-so-good parts. Car insurance is ridiculously high. But there's no provincial sales tax. Income taxes are lower and the cost of living isn't too high, except in the Calgary area, and the parks. Property taxes are thought to be high, but not when you compare them to Winnipeg!
Having said all that, I would still make the move. I was able to find a family physician almost immediately (lived in Winnipeg 15 years and never had one!), my husband found work before we even moved and our son got into an excellent school. Hope this helps.