Published Oct 4, 2003
I just got offered a job in Phoenix, Arizona and before I accept it I'd like to know a little bit about the area and what nursing is like there. I'm coming from the UK and I've never been to Arizona before so I just have no idea what to expect. Could some of you maybe answer these questions?
What's the weather like during winter?
How much is an average wage for an experienced ICU nurse?
What kind of area is Phoenix like?
What area should I look for an apartment if I work in Phoenix, and how much should I expect to pay for either a room in a shared house or a studio/1 bed apartment?
What is there to do in Arizona? I'm keen on mountain biking, horseriding and working out.
If I work in Phoenix do I need to have a car?
Are there any recommended hospitals in Phoenix or ones to avoid?
Any help is much appreciated! It's between Arizona and Georgia at the moment and I need to decide before next week.
jnette, ASN, EMT-I
Here's a little something to look at while you are awaiting some replies...http://www.andiesisle.com/Desert_Beauty.html
Enjoy ! :)
OOOH, Arizona is beautiful (in it's own way!!!)
Weather is winter is wonderful. Can get cool (40's) but mainly very nice (60-80's).
Since I worked in Tucson (for 8 years at UMC; lived in Tucson for 20 years - 30 years total in AZ), I cannot comment on wages there.
Phoenix has some really good areas (north) and some really BAD areas (south of Thomas Road). Since Phoenix is a metropolitan area, there are many suburbs that you could live in. Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale (up-scale). Tempe is where the University is; a shared house there would probably be easy to obtain. Price: ?
I, personally, would have a car in Phoenix. It is very spread out, though there is public transportation. Not sure how good it is, though.
Things to do: There is the Superstition Mts to the east. Good places to hike. Biking should be easy since the Phoenix area is more or less flat. Flagstaff is north with the Grand Canyon. Showlow and the White mts are also east with snow skiing. South is Tucson (The AZ Desert Museum, Old Tucson (movie making studio), Tombstone, and, of course Mexico.
Well, there is my little contribution! AZ was home for such a long time. It was hard to get used to after growing up in Los Angeles!
I was born and raised in the Phoenix area, and happy to tell you what I can. What I have always loved about Arizona is how much variety there really is close by. So many people think the whole state is just a huge desert, but there's much more. Mt. Humphrey's peak in Flagstaff is around 12,000 feet, and about 2.5 hours drive from Phx. It is one of three ski resorts in AZ, two of which usually have good snow seasons (the others are in Show Low and Tucson.)
Sedona is probably the most popular place for tourists and locals alike, other than the Grand Canyon, of course. Sedona is famous for its red rocks, and is absolutely GORGEOUS! Also famous for it's numerous vortexes (don't ask me to explain what the heck they are, I'm still not sure exactly), cool jeep tours, and very artsy and new age vibe.
There are several lakes in and around the Valley of the Sun full of recreation, and the Salt River. "Tubing the river" is very popular in the summer - you ride down the river on inner tubes, bring an extra tube for the cooler, and relax or really party down the river as the case may be.
Mountain biking is very popular and there are lots of locations in and around the area for hiking and biking. I don't know much about horseriding in the area (I'm sure there's more than I realize) and don't worry about finding a place to work out.
A half-day's drive will take you to the beach in San Diego, Mexico, or Sin City (Las Vegas). There's also lots of Indian gaming casinos in the area, on the Native American reservations surrounding the city.
Phoenix itself is a large metro area, fairly spread out. Generally speaking, a car is necessary to live there, but there are lots of people who commute using the bus system, which is okay, but not great by any means. There is not really a centralized business district or public transportation other than the buses. Lots of freeways, constant growth.
I imagine you have an idea about the hot summers - very hot! But, as we say, it's a dry heat - the humidity is very low except in the monsoon season in late summer - spectacular thunder and lightning storms! In the winter, it's beautiful. Phoenix has many "snowbirds" who come from colder areas and live there in the winter.
Gosh I'm so verbose this morning! I don't know quite how to describe how nursing is since I don't have much experience in other places to compare it to. ICU's are generally 2:1 ratios. The shortage here is just like anywhere else, of course. Lots of overtime available, but not required generally. Lots of travellers and registry. Not very much union activity at all - they tried in Flagstaff this year and it was voted out.
What hospital are you considering? There are so many - I want to say around 5 or 6 level I trauma's. The Banner facilities have a good rep as far as I know, especially Thunderbird in North Phx. Scottsdale Healthcare, too. I actually moved to Flagstaff when I finished nursing school, so any of my experience with Valley hospitals is mostly as a student, although I did work as an LPN for a year at a Banner facility, and it was a nice place to work. I'm working as a traveller now, and headed home in November to work in the neuro ICU at Good Samaritan, a level I in downtown Phx - I'm pretty excited to work there. I don't really know what the average wage would be for an experienced ICU nurse. All I can tell you is, as a traveller, I will be making $28/hr, which of course is usually a little more than the average staff nurse. Three years ago when I was a new grad, new grads started around $16-18/hr.
Cost of living is pretty good compared to many places. I grew up in the East Valley (Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler) and there are many nice places to live in those cities, all a short commute to any of the downtown Phx hospitals. The freeway system is pretty good, though of course rush hour sucks. For a nice 1 bedroom apt, I would guess around $600/month or so, but I shared a house when I lived there before, so I'm not sure. Sharing rent in a house varies widely, anywhere from $200 - 600/ month depending on where, how big, and how many people sharing.
I hope all this info helps you decide, I think I must be homesick writing all these nice things about my home. I can't wait to be there for the holidays!
rocknurse, I am a transplanted Brit who has lived Mesa, Arizona since 1988. I moved to US in 1984. Emperess pretty much said it all but do know that the summers are really hot - we often experence over 100 days of over 100 degree weather. Today it is about 95 degrees and it's okay. If you want a Brit's point of view just pm me. It's nice state but Phoenix and surrounding areas are becoming so built up. I think though you might have enough f the rain so lots of sun might be okay with you. another thing is that we are only a 1 hour flight from San Diego, Las Vegas, LA etc. I hope you enjoy your stay here...
Arizona is a very unique, one-of-a-kind place. If you can endure the horribly hot summers, then it proves to be a great place to live. I cannot comment on nurse pay or good hospitals to work at since I am only a student, but from what I've heard Scottsdale Healthcare and the Banner hospitals are good. The economy here in Phoenix is great-- why do you think Californians are flocking to Arizona in droves? Unlike much of the country (particularly the east coast), the job market has been virtually unaffected by the recession and depressed stock market. The cost of living is VERY reasonable. Heck, I just bought a house this year and I am only 24!
There is plenty to do in Phoenix. It's kind of like a smaller version of LA-- minus the ocean of course! As Emperess said, mountain-biking and golf are probably the biggest outdoor sports here, along with hiking. Since the Phoenix area has been growing so fast, mostly everything is new. Lots and lots of shopping!
Scottsdale, Ahwatukee and Chandler are great places to live. Studios/1bedrooms run from $500 and up-- depending on how nice you want! A lot of the apartment communities are really nice and have lots of ammenities like pools, spas, aerobics centers, computer/internet access, tennis, golf, etc.
Oh, and I would most definitely recommend that you have a car. You want to stay away from the bus system if possible! Hope this helps and good luck!
You mentioned you are looking at Arizona and Georgia. I have lived in both Phoenix and Atlanta, so perhaps I can compare the two for you.
Phoenix is beautiful in the winter, never really gets cold. The summers take some getting used to. It gets very hot and doesn't cool off at night, but there is no humidity. The first summer I thought I would die, but after a year or so I got used to it.
The cost of living in Phoenix is less than that in Atlanta. Depending on where you live, you can get a one bedroom apartment for $500-$700 dollars. Nurses don't make as much in AZ as they do in some states, but the pay is better in Phoenix than in Tucson.
Phoenix is a wonderful place to live if you like the outdoors. There is lots of hiking, biking, rock climbing, etc. When it gets really hot in the summer, people go a few hours north where it is much cooler.
You must have a car in Phoenix! There are a few buses but they don't run on time. Public transportation isn't a priority in Phoenix.
Atlanta is more of a "big city" and has a more cosmopolitan feel. There is a good public transportation system, MARTA, and if you live close into the city, you wouldn't need a car. Atlanta is very congested and the traffic is horrible.
Atlanta has seasons, unlike Phoenix. It does get cold and there are a few ice storms, but compared to places farther north, the winters aren't bad. The spring and fall are absolutely beautiful.
The cost of living is higher in Atlanta. The closer into the city you are the more expensive housing is. Without a car, you would have to rent something close to the city so you could ride MARTA. Salaries are higher in Atlanta than in Phoenix.
Phoenix and Atlanta are very different cities. I preferred Phoenix, but that is purely a personal opinion. Both cities have good and bad points and I'm sure you would be happy either place.
Rocknurse, MSN, APRN, NP
Thank you so much everybody! Those descriptions were beyond what I had hoped for..you're all very kind to take the time. I'm so glad I asked because it sounds great! I was feeling quite terrified before and now I'm beginning to look forward to it. It sounds like there is more to do in Phoenix, and I must say I love the sun. If I have to move somewhere on my own it would be great to go somewhere where I can be outside enjoying the weather. The only problem is that my partner is in Connecticut. Does anyone know how long it would take to fly to Connecticut/New York and what the average price for a flight would be? My future boss has said I can choose my own shifts and arrange my schedule so I can fly to CT once a month, so it sounds like a great deal to me. Sorry for asking a dumb question, but does anyone know if there is an Ikea store in Arizona? I'm going to need some cheap furniture! I absolutely adore mountain biking and I can't wait to try it in Arizona, but I wonder if it's going to be too hot!
Thank you all so much again. I really appreciate it. It's so tough going somewhere new that you've never even visited before. Your input is making this a lot easier.
Phoenix is great in my opinion. I moved here a little over a year ago from washington state and i love it here. the winters are wonderful. it's not too cold and not too hot. personally i prefer the summers here than the winters back home. there is plenty to do and i'm an outdoors person. there are wonderful places to hike and ride your bike. as far as hospitals go there are a lot of good ones here. my best experience has been at good sam with banner. banner is a good company imo. if you want action then good sam, st. joe's and county are your best bets. experienced icu nurses will start out around 24-26$ an hour as far as i know. cost of living is reasonable compared to a lot of places. expect to pay around $600 or more for a good apartment. tempe, central phoenix north of thomas are good places to live. scottsdale is nice if you can find an inepensive place to live. for me mesa is too far away from downtown and the highlights of phoenix. just my opinion. best of luck
I must have come to PHX during an particularly unusual time, because I thought last summer was as humid as heck!
Dry heat my underarms:chuckle! Go outside at 2 or 3am, and you feel like there is a wall around you! And dry heat or not, HOT IS HOT!
Originally posted by Rocknurse Does anyone know how long it would take to fly to Connecticut/New York and what the average price for a flight would be? My future boss has said I can choose my own shifts and arrange my schedule so I can fly to CT once a month, so it sounds like a great deal to me. Sorry for asking a dumb question, but does anyone know if there is an Ikea store in Arizona? I'm going to need some cheap furniture! I absolutely adore mountain biking and I can't wait to try it in Arizona, but I wonder if it's going to be too hot! Thank you all so much again. I really appreciate it. It's so tough going somewhere new that you've never even visited before. Your input is making this a lot easier.
Does anyone know how long it would take to fly to Connecticut/New York and what the average price for a flight would be? My future boss has said I can choose my own shifts and arrange my schedule so I can fly to CT once a month, so it sounds like a great deal to me. Sorry for asking a dumb question, but does anyone know if there is an Ikea store in Arizona? I'm going to need some cheap furniture! I absolutely adore mountain biking and I can't wait to try it in Arizona, but I wonder if it's going to be too hot!
Thank you all so much again. I really appreciate it. It's so tough going somewhere new that you've never even visited before. Your input is making this a lot easier.
Rock... I recently booked a flight for my son (who moved out to Az. last year around this time...) from Phoenix to Hartford through Yahoo Travel, and it was somewhere around $300.00 rountrip.. perhaps a bit more. The fares are ALWAYS changing, so you need to keep track of them. There are great websites to get your best fares and always book several weeks in advance. You can get some super deals if you plan ahead and look around at the offers.
I think the flight was7-8 hours, but that was with the layover in PA. On most flights you will have to transfer unless you want to pay outrageous fares.
Tucson is a wonderful place also, you might want to check it out. Lots of young people there because of the college, etc. It has the "old Town" as well as the "new Tucson"... some great parks, and neat artsy things.... I love Tucson way better than Phoenix... (too much of a "metropolis" for me... one of the fastest growing cities in the nation lately... Tucson is more "smalltown" and unique, even though, it, too, is a "city"). Lots of medical opprtunities there as well and the Univ. of Az. Medical Hopsital was one of the first who just last year reduced their pt. to nurse ratio to 4:1... heard nurses from all over the country were beating their doors down to work there... haven't kept up with this, so don't know if this is still the case, but you can ask around.
Tucson has wonderful public transport, and you can even take your bicycle and hook it on the front of the busses!
Most college kids get around on bicycles there.
Mt. Lemmon is only 45 min. outside of town and you have a MAJOR drop in temperature when you reach the top... you go from cactus to pine forest in 45 min. Like a 20-30 degree drop in temp., so always a welcome little afternoon away from the heat.. great camping places up there (nice to do on the weekend) and the scenic views are breathtaking!
My sis lives in Tucson and Mom in the Phoenix area, so we go out there at least onc e a year. Yes, it's a beautiful area, without a doubt. Don't forget to take in the Grand Canyon... a MUST see !!! About a four hour drive from Phoenix.
Yes, it's HOT in Az. but without the humidity there, it is tolerable. At least you can BREATHE.
Again, check out the airfares and flight times on the web... plenty of info to be had.
ps... did you take a look at that link I sent you way up there???
No IKEA in AZ, sorry, but you can order online, and ebay has IKEA stuff:)
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