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Major hospitals in L.A?


Hi everyone,

East Coaster here, and thinking about relocating to CA maybe within a year. Just wondering what the major/well-known hospitals were around the Los Angeles area (Pasadena, downtown, Long Beach, etc.). and what their reputations are like. Rough estimate on pay as well would be nice. The cost of living is not too surprising, as we live in Washington D.C.

I'm a med-surg RN that has been working for two years and will have my BSN at the end of the month.

Lastly, is nursing in CA as good as everyone says? (Excluding pay, but nurse-to-patient ratios, scheduling, etc).



Specializes in BMT. Has 10 years experience.

UCLA and Keck-USC are the big two. Both are good hospitals with good benefits. UCLA has multiple campuses in Westwood, Santa Monica and in the South Bay, and you work for the UC system so transfer to other UC's is possible if you move.

LA county RNs make less than the Bay Area, but I still make more than I did in NYC. Taxes are just as high. Yes, CA has mandated RN-Patient ratios, and mandatory breaks. Is it always followed is the question (mostly yes). I've worked at both those hospitals as a traveler and they are both good facilities. Both are Union represented.

Wow, that's great to hear. What about some of the other hospitals in the L.A. area? What are their reputations like? The only other major hospital I know of in L.A. is Cedars-Sinai, for obvious reasons.

I've googled a bunch of hospitals and saw Long Beach Memorial, Huntington Memorial, Torrance Memorial, St. Vincent, etc...do these hospitals also have a good reputation? And is pay pretty much the same among them (including UCLA?)

Thank you so much! Would like to know as much as I can before I make such a decision to move across the country!

amb218, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

Huntington Memorial in Pasadena is beautiful and has a great reputation!! I was actually born there haha

Cedars is a non-unionized hospital. Kaiser is also great. The job market here is very competitive, do not move here until you get a solid job offer!

I agree with everyone who has responded. Torrance Little Company of Mary Hospital is a great hospital too. I would not go to Centinela Hospital. Hear too many bad stories about the. Long Beach Memorial is awesome. Los Alamitos Memorial is a good hospital.

Just ensure you have a job already and will start working once you are moved. This state is saturated with nurses because of all of the the nursing programs here. New and Experienced nursing have trouble finding work even though the job postings are out there. It is great you are getting your BSN because most hospitals are only hiring BSN. You won't find many ADN or license positions. Apply, Apply, and Apply. There is also the VA in West Los Angeles and Long Beach. They are constantly hiring. I work for the government and plan to transfer to the VA once I get my BSN. They pay well.

Good Luck on your goals.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Some other hospitals I have not seen mentioned:

1. County USC Medical Center

2. Silver Lake Medical Center

3. Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

4. Valley Presbyterian Hospital

5. Providence Holy Cross Medical Center

6. Olive View UCLA Medical Center

7. West Hills Hospital

City of Hope in Duarte, which is a comprehensive cancer center. Two-to-one patient/nurse ratio in ICU, three-to-one, four-to-one max patient/nurse ratio in other units. Smaller hospital but renowned in oncology

SquishyRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, Trauma, Med-Surg/Tele, LTC. Has 11 years experience.

Lastly, is nursing in CA as good as everyone says? (Excluding pay, but nurse-to-patient ratios, scheduling, etc).

I would say nursing in California is no different than nursing anywhere else. Patients are patients no matter where you go. Coworkers and management in California can be just as great or terrible as in any other place. It matters more on the facility and the unit than California itself. The nursing ratios are great though. Sticking to the nursing ratios has been serious business everywhere I've worked or done clinicals. I couldn't imagine having 7 med-surg patients, 5 keeps me busy enough.

Scheduling is definitely facility dependent. For example, at my old job we had a set block schedule and were generally granted whatever vacation days we requested off for as long as we requested as long as we had the PTO to cover it and it wasn't during the winter holidays. I had co-workers that would save all their PTO and take 2 month vacations. At my new job we do self-scheduling, but it gets changed so much from what we originally put in that I wonder what the point is of even trying to self-schedule. We're also lucky if we get the vacation days we request off approved as requested. Also, vacations can't be longer than 2 weeks at a time no matter how much PTO or seniority one has. We joked that it wasn't true because one of the unit secretaries got approved for 3 weeks last year... It only took her 30 years of service to get it :p

I'm not too familiar with UCLA, Keck, Long Beach Memorial, and CHLA, but I've heard nothing bad about them from people that I've talked to that work there.

For pay, the current union contracts for all the different UCs can be found here: http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/labor/bargaining-units/nx/docs/nx_2013-2017_00_complete-contract.pdf. The wage table for UCLA starts on pg. 111.

For Cedars and Huntington Hospital, they are bright, shiny, modern hospitals and have wonderful reputations in the community, but I've heard negative things from nurses that have worked there. For Cedars I've heard it's a love it or hate it type of place to work… There's no middle. The people who love it have a cult-like love for it, while the people who hate it stay there only for the pay. I've heard that it's great pay, but it's extremely micromanaged. For example, I have a friend that was impressed at all my skills” because there's pretty much a team dedicated for everything that needs to be done at Cedars so she doesn't get to do squat. I've also heard that if you try to stir the pot against the status quo, they'll just throw more money at you to get you to shut up. For Huntington I've heard that they take the customer satisfaction mentality to an extreme, at the expense of the livelihood of the nurses.

Kaiser has many locations and is a popular company that many nurses try to get into. I did extensive clinical rotations at one and know many people that work at various locations. The benefits are great from what I've heard. For example, as an employee you get full medical coverage for yourself and your family through them, and for working holidays you get 2.5x your regular pay instead of 1.5x as required by law.

The County hospitals like LAC+USC, Olive View, and Harbor-UCLA are like working in the trenches. They are the public safety net hospitals of LA County, so the patient population is very challenging as they are typically the homeless or uninsured. Patients that have insurance usually get transferred out to other hospitals once they've been treated in the ER. Given that they are public hospitals, they pay less than a lot of the big, private hospitals like Kaiser, Cedars, Huntington, etc, but I still think they're competitive overall after factoring in other types of healthcare facilities that employ RNs such as smaller community hospitals, nursing homes, home health, etc.

For County pay, the current salary table can be found here: http://cao.lacounty.gov/pdf/alpha.pdf. The salaries for Registered Nurses is on page 41.

As others have suggested, do not move out here until you have a firm job offer in hand. The job market is very tough in California and two years is still not enough to make you very competitive. You could get lucky though. As always, you should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Good luck!