Moving From San Francisco to Raleigh


  • Specializes in Critical Care, PACU, BMT. Has 17 years experience.


We are planning to relocate our young family (a four year old and two year old twins) from San Francisco to North Raleigh to be closer to family. If there is anyone out there who has made a similar move and could offer some advice and encouragement regarding the salary drop and surviving the culture shock, I'd greatly appreciate it. Specifically, I'm in a bit of a panic regarding the large drop in salary. I was expecting around a 40% drop, but it appears it will be closer to a 50-60% drop. I'm currently working in a PACU at a major university medical center. I have 17 years of experience in PACU, critical care, and bone marrow/stem cell transplant. I am currently rotating through both adult and pediatric PACUs. I was hoping to work in North Raleigh, which is where we will be buying a home. But, the salaries at Rex and WakeMed just won't cut it. Is commuting to Duke from North Raleigh an option? What are the salaries at Duke (I couldn't find any reference to compensation other than "competitive").

Thanks for any advice or help.


154 Posts

Specializes in Psych & Gero psych. Has 3 years experience.

this is what i can tell you it's a big drop but the cost of living is a big drop too. you will probably pay half as much in rent, to start with. have you gone to and looked at the cost of living calculator? you can rent an apt. here for $700-900 a month for a 2-3 bedroom place. my house payment is $730 a month on a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with 1.3 acres of land. car insurance is cheaper too, when i moved here we payed for year for 2 cars what would have cost for 1 car for 6 months of insurance, cars seem to last longer too. the culture shock isn't so bad in raliegh, it's worse in other parts of the state, raliegh has enough people from other places that it's not so bad. driving was the first thing i noticed and then the understanding the southern accent. tip "got sugar" is southern for diabetes. in fact from payscale i got this:

you are currently earning $57,000 in san francisco, california as a registered nurse (rn).

you need to earn $35,301 to maintain the same standard of living in raleigh, north carolina.


10 Posts

Yes i agree. I am not a rn so i can't comment about pay scale. But if you want to get a good priced home that is centrally located. Where you could commute to raleigh or durham. Try a town called Creedmoor. It is convenient to raleigh and durham but still will give you what you need and it will be good for the kids.


1 Post

Yes, you'd take a pay cut but there's less traffic, cheaper rent, better public schools (depending on where you end up), and a very friendly atmosphere. Nothing beats the culture of SF but Raleigh has its own unique qualities for a small city. Regard the hospital situation-- with your background with a major medical center, I'd recommend looking into Duke or UNC. You would definitely utilize your skills more at one of those hospitals (the patients are generally a lot sicker). Duke opened/expanded a new CT PACU and it's really nice. My friends love working there (great hours, no call). Duke actually pays the lowest in the area but it also has the best benefits. You have to pay for parking there but you also get a nice bonus for certifications. The classes are great, the computer charting is better than UNC's and WakeMed's, and there's great teamwork on most of the floors. At UNC you have to take a bus to the hospital from where you park, a major downside. The commute from Raleigh to UNC isn't the greatest either. WakeMed and Rex pay the highest; Rex has a better reputation in my opinion. I've worked for Duke and WakeMed. I'm at WM now only for the pay ($7-$15 more and hr) but took a cut in benefits. If Duke paid the same, I'd go back there in a heartbeat. If benefits are more important than hourly pay, I'd put Duke at the top of your list. If you're looking for higher $$, consider Rex next. Good luck!