Hey~ I'm a Richmonder.... and would just like to say that I feel VERY safe here! I moved to Richmond four years ago and love it. It has great culture, awesome shopping, lots to do -- free concerts, parks, the river, it is central to the mountains, beach, DC, everything.... The cost of living is quite reasonable (esp in relation to Cali). There are some parts of the actual city -- which please aren't nice But remember Richmond is the city, Henrico county and Chesterfield county... There is no reason why you'd ever even need to go in the pockets in the city that aren't nice. The safety issues 99% of the time are in those pockets. However, in the city --- the fan, carytown, and Shockoe Bottom are all perfectly safe. These are the only places that you'd ever want to go (shopping, restaurants, etc)
As far as where to live --- it depends on what type of feel you want... Midlothian area, Bon Air, and out by Lucks Lane (all in Chesterfield) are nice areas -- in Henrico you'd want to be in "the West End" or Short Pump (the new area to be). If you want a city like feel the fan is very cute, nice, safe, etc. If you want a more rural feel -- Goochland is the place to go. Not too far from downtown but you can have your wide open spaces.
I work at MCV -- now known as VCU Health Systems. It is the large, teaching facility. I have worked there since I came to Richmond. I disagree with the poster who says that the pay isn't that great -- -I know for a fact I make more here than coworkers of mine who have gone to the smaller community hospitals as hourly employees or whatever. MCV was recently named a Magnet Hospital, has great benefits, and also does a great job of letting nurses expand their horizons (6 credits per semester paid for school, etc) There are so many learning opportunities on campus. I can't speak for the other hospitals in the area but I know that safe ratios are a very important aspect for administration and it is quite rare (even with call ins, etc) that recommended ratios are not followed... ICU it is 1:2 unless the patient is a 1:1, our stepdowns are 1:3, our med surg floors are 1:4, L&D is 1:2...
I don't know what type of hospital you are looking for -- community vs large teaching.... I have also heard good things about Bon Secours hospitals--- St Marys, St Francis... ST Fran is the new one in town -- absolutely beautiful but just opened in the last year so there are the typical just opened kinks.
Please feel free to PM me with any questions... I'd be happy to answer any!!!