Help! Need to make a decision soon.

  1. Hi, this is my first post and I'm happy to be among fellow nurses. Currently I reside and work in San Francisco, where we have the highest nursing salary in the nation, if I'm not mistaken.

    I love most of my coworkers and my nurse manager have been just awesome. My problem is I am stuck in a rut, both emotionally and psychologically, this is due in part to the recent passing of my mother who was quite young. I spent every day with her from the time of her unexpected illness and diagnosis to her last days at the hospital.

    I keep it together at work and I still laugh and joke with my friends at work, but when I come home I can't seem to get myself together to actually enjoy life as I did before. My few close friends think I'm shutting myself off to the rest of the world.

    I talked to my nurse manager about my boredom at work, and he suggested that I go into the critical care float training program but wants a 3 year committment. Basically I'll train in neonatal, pediatric, and pediatric cardiac ICUs for a year and then join the float pool for 2 more years. At first it sounds perfect because I do need critical care experience for when I apply to CRNA programs. It's not really about the money that CRNAs make, but I've always liked the chemistry and physiology aspect more.

    But, a couple of weeks ago, the idea of moving to NYC came into my head. I lived in Brooklyn about 14 years ago when I studied at Pratt Institute as a teenager. I haven't been back to NY since and I've always wanted to settle down in NYC, even while I was busy attending college and working in both LA and SF. I plan to apply to CRNA programs in NY and Pennsylvania regardless of whether I stay in SF or actually move to NYC.

    I really can't decide. My manager has been so supportive and he basically went out of his way to accomodate my work schedule and LOA both during and after my mom's battle with cancer. My base pay is $43/ Hr and that's before weekend and evening differentials, and we're due for another raise early next year. I would be trained in all the pediatric critical care specialities and I am already familiar with the hospital system. On the otherhand, I feel trapped by my familiar surroundings....SF is pretty small compared to other majoy cities. I don't have any family here besides my brother and he's itching to go to NYC with me. And if eventually I plan to settle down in NY then why should I stay another 3 years in SF just to get experience and a good recommendation for grad school?

    I wish to get some objective advice from you guys. A concern of mine would be the lower salary I would be making in NYC. I currently have over 40K in student loans since nursing is not my first Bachelor's degree. I am also paying off about 10K of credit card debt, so I need to know if I can live comfortably in NYC as a single gal on a RN's salary. I searched different websites for average NYC nursing salaries and got a wide variance ranging from 62K to 71K, so I don't know which is more accurate. Money will play a big part in my decision making since I am also looking to save some money for grad school when I'll be hardly working. From what I've heard, CRNA programs don't allow you much time to work.
    Last edit by hellkitty71 on Dec 2, '06
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    About hellkitty71

    Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 1


  3. by   loriann

    I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. I'm sure it has been very hard on you and your brother.

    It sounds like you have a lot of things going on, so I'll give you my two cents worth First, new grad nursing salaries in NYC do run the range you have found, probably a few thousand more if you are working nights, and depending on what hospital you work at. The city hospitals have recently increased their salaries, but are still the lowest paying hospitals, which is probably the $62,000 range. The higher paying hospitals seem to be Presbyterian and Sloane-Kettering. I don't know if hospitals pay more for someone with your experience level, so you would need to find out more from the hospitals here in NYC.

    You said the last time you lived here was 14 years ago, which is a very long time and especially for things to change in ways you may not like. Is it possible for you to try some travel nursing job in NYC so you can stay here for a period of time, re-acclimate yourself to the city, and maybe investigate some of the hospitals? "Living comfortably" in NYC has different meanings...some people prefer larger spaces, cheaper rents and will live in the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, etc.) and even Westchester, NJ, or Long Island. Others prefer Manhattan and are willing to deal with the small spaces for more money. I think you really need to consider and research this, as real estate in NYC is expensive (as I'm sure you are used to in San Fran!).

    I too have student loans in the $40,000 range, but no credit card debt. I have 2 roommates right now, so my salary is great, but I plan to get my own 1 BR in May. I know I will be able to live comfortably on my salary and will start saving to buy an apartment, but for me that means not going out every night, eating in a lot, making my lunch, etc. You need to figure out how you want to live. A lot of people complain about living in NYC and the higher rents, prices, etc., but you get so many things in return (culture, art, music, interesting sights, etc.). I think you could live here on an RN's salary, but you will have to be smart about it and do some financial planning if you want to experience the great things this city has to offer.

    It also sounds like you aren't quite sure why you want to leave San said you were "stuck in a rut..." Before you pick up and leave the good things you have there (job, support from super, peers) maybe you could spend some understanding what your motivations for leaving are and if moving across the country will actually help. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh (I don't mean to be), but I would hate to see you give up something good. The grass always looks greener...just make sure you'll actually want to mow the grass here!!

    Take care and hope this helps. Feel free to PM if you want.

  4. by   Mission
    Private hospitals in Manhattan pay more than borough hospitals. The salary range you quoted is definately for new grads, it sounds like you have some experience so you'll probably make more. Also, some SNFs and VNS pay in the $50+/hr range. I used to live in San Fran, it's one of the few places besides NYC, in the US that I would live. I recall the rents in SF being very high, though this was about 10 years ago, but I imagine the rental markets are about the same.

    Anyway, I just graduated, I have a decent size 1br in Manhattan and I live pretty well. I'm getting my MSN at Columbia, I've heard the CRNA program is really good here, though it's not my specialty so I couldn't tell you anything first hand. But I would go with the previous posters suggestion and come as a travel nurse first if you're really not sure about leaving SF.