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Question from a Cali RN making good money.

SRNA   (2,437 Views 21 Comments)
by LifelongRN LifelongRN (Member)

LifelongRN has 4 years experience .

714 Visitors; 36 Posts

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buspar has 2 years experience.

7,262 Visitors; 227 Posts

Kaiser is no longer "the least expensive" program. 94k for IN-state, 133k for OUT-state. And the cost of living in CA is not cheap ...

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LifelongRN has 4 years experience.

714 Visitors; 36 Posts

You're absolutely right. The program at Kaiser has gone up exponentially in the last few years and the cost of living in Pasadena is crazy high. Sure I could go to National in Fresno or Samuel Merritt in Oakland but the cost of living there is well above the national average and i would just accrue unnecessary debt. If accepted in the next few months, I will need to leave California and i doubt i would end up coming back but CRNA allows me the option to come back if I wanted to.

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206 Likes; 2 Followers; 5,530 Visitors; 937 Posts

The OP is doing very well in your career, even considering the cost of living in that area. The job itself is really nice, great nurse/patient ratio, very little stress, loads of autonomy and collegiality. You like your work and the pay is more than fair. Why uproot yourself and get into a bunch of debt for something that might not be any better?

My perspective and experience here is that most of that "great job" could come crashing down quickly, if a couple of different bean counters and administrators come into the picture.

On the other hand, I went to NP school back in the day when there was no expectation of getting a big raise. We all knew that you might not. You had to want it for what it is, not the money. Seems crazy.

So, I don't have an answer. I do know that I would not have had the motive to pursue NP school if my RN career had been going well. I also know that situations on jobs can change very quickly.

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Bluebolt has 6 years experience.

13 Likes; 2 Followers; 24,936 Visitors; 539 Posts

I was in the same situation as you a few years ago. Working for Stanford, making a good six figures, easy job with great benefits, pretty good autonomy (for an RN). I was sending out applications to CRNA programs but hesitated for a brief amount of time because I knew the difficulty and just how much sacrifice the program would take from me. I figured I could be happy doing this the rest of my days. Although, I knew I was lying to myself. I've always known I wanted a terminal degree, that I didn't settle for knowing half the answer but the whole thing. I never wanted to spend my career taking orders but rather giving them. I wanted to have the skills and knowledge to supply my patients with advanced treatments and interventions that would change their lives for the better.

The next week I applied and interviewed. The rest is history.

You have to know yourself. Some people are completely content as an RN. They enjoy their shifts and their roles and provide a valuable service that is well paid. Don't start the program unless you're sure you'll sacrifice everything for it. Otherwise, you'll probably drop your first year of the program.

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LifelongRN has 4 years experience.

714 Visitors; 36 Posts

Yeah it sounds like I think very similar to you. I have a great job, make great money, and would be sacrificing a lot to go but i know myself and i know that future me will absolutley not be content being a bedside nurse forever. I always ask questions and want to know radicals for things. I'm tired of the culture of when you ask a question people just shrug their shoulders and say "i dunno". The apathy confuses me. I get specialty certs like the csc or cmc and people ask me why. Nursing can just kind of be a weird culture. I know there's a lot of ways to be the person that knows the answers to difficult clinical questions but it would be nice to be in a position where you were the one that could make decisions based in that aquired knowledge rather than jusy take orders and follow protocols. I'm going to end up going to school because i know i'll regret it if I don't. The sacrifice is minimal compared to how fulfilling it will be for me personally. I know myself well and because of that I can't NOT go despite how much i would be "giving up". I know in retrospect that i will laugh at even having this conversation.

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253 Visitors; 11 Posts

Literally was in the same boat as you. Live in CA, I'm 34 years old, my wife and I have 2 young kids, and we were doing fine financially. I had been working various PD jobs and my wife is an RN for Kaiser (got to enjoy her benefits so I could take the PD pay bump) Took me a while and dealt with a lot of anxiety but pulled the trigger and applied, currently in the first year at the kaiser/fullerton crna program. With a family and working wife moving for school wasn't an option so it was either the kaiser program or USC and I couldn't justify the cost of USC (when I applied to the kaiser program it was technically still the $34k msn... they sprung the DNP and new tuition on us after...which really hurt)

So I won't be done with school and working again until the tender age of 37 which is hard to swallow. Combine that with the financial obligation of school, the hardship of being gone all the time when we get going with clinicals, and 3 years no income it was a huge decision and sacrifice for myself and ESPECIALLY for my wife. But I have ZERO regrets. Bedside nursing wasn't cutting it for my professional satisfaction anymore and I know when I'm 45 I'm going to be so much happier. And honestly I was craving the challenge, as nursing school was a joke. We hit the ground running in the anesthesia program and I'm happy.

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LifelongRN has 4 years experience.

714 Visitors; 36 Posts

I actually decided a few weeks ago that I'm not going to go. I'm set to make $185/yr working in a unit that I like in an area that has been great for my family. Some of my friends that are currently in CRNA school think I'm crazy but let me explain. First, my job is pretty boring and often times I don't feel super challenged even though we do stuff like implanted LVADS, Bilateral Centrimags, Impella, Balloons, Tandem Heart, CRRT, etc. But I get paid a lot of money to do what I do and the state of California does a good job at protecting our ratios and helping keep the workplace much better than I had it in Las Vegas. We love Sacramento and even if I went to school we would probably end up back here in the area due to being close to family and close to nature. CRNAs here do well but not 3 times nurse wages like the average for the rest of the country. After all is said and done, school would cost me about $180-200k including living expenses because my wife doesn't work and I would also have to consider the 2-1/2 to 3 years of lost wages costing me about an additional $500k. So everything tallied up comes to $700k cost in making this decision. This is all without even considering the time, anxiety, and stress costs involved with having a large family and going to school with absolutely zero income. My wife already struggles with some depression and anxiety and feels very unfulfilled. I think she would really struggle during those years and very well may not come out the same person and would hold a grudge against me for it all. Now, I don't meant that like she's the reason that holds me back but I genuinely worry about her and I can't imagine doing something to hurt her like that even though she would just likely grin and bare it. I fear my marriage would be at risk and it's hard to justify the debt and family costs for something that will only give me a moderate bump in pay and job satisfaction when I already should just be happy with where I'm at. I have 3 other coworkers who were in the same boat as me and each have different reasons for not going. Again, if I were in Nevada still, the math would likely not add up and I'd end up going but damn Northern California makes it hard for me to leave. I feel like I don't see a lot of posts about this so I will probably end up starting another thread that explains my rationale and the rationales of my other coworkers that decided not to go.

My wife seems to be much happier since I told her I'm not going which proves she was likely holding a lot in. Also, I'm currently writing this from a hotel room in Disneyland while sitting next to my kids who are also glad I decided not to go. My decision is not for everyone and I applaud anyone who has someone to support them financially and emotionally while in school. My situation was just a bit too complicated and I believe that this is ultimately the best decision for MY family. I could always go back anyway to do CRNA or NP in 10 years if I still need to scratch that itch...

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ProgressiveThinking has 7 years experience and works as a SRNA.

10 Likes; 12,438 Visitors; 352 Posts

Well good thing you had enough personal insight to come to this conclusion. Sacramento is on my list of places to move after I graduate. I like the downtown scene! Good luck!

Edited by ProgressiveThinking

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