I live in the Fort Worth area and will graduate with a BSN in August '07. I plan to move to South Texas at that time - in the Brownsville/McAllen/Harlingen area (or maybe S. Padre). My mom and stepdad live there in Rancho Viejo, but no way I can afford that area!
Any advice on new nurse friendly hospitals, as well as reasonably priced, safe apartments that take pets? I know it is a year away, but I like to plan ahead! I am going to spend a month in the area for our semester break, from mid Decemeber to mid January - does anyone know if hospitals let students shadow nurses to see how the hospitals work. I was hoping to do some of this so by January I have a good idea where I want to go. Thanks! :wink2: :wink2: :wink2:
Sep 5, '06
I don't think you will have a problem finding a job in south Texas. I frequently see ads in Nurseweek literally begging nurses to come to Harlingen and McAllen. Some offering bonuses of up to 30,000, relocation assistance, etc. Being a new grad shouldn't be a detriment. I do not have first hand experience so someone correct me if I am wrong.
Sep 6, '06
I lived in McAllen. I was a new grad RN there in 2000. Hospital standards were very poor there at the time. It's a rough place to work. I had already been an LPN for eight years when I became an RN.
I was the only nurse for 10-13 pts on a med surg unit, on nocs. No LVN, no CNA, no ward clerk. That is way too many pts to take care of safely. When I quit my miserable job, I paid back my sign on and relocation. It was worth every penny to get out.
All the hospitals there were actively recruiting new grads, because experienced nurses were constantly quitting. A former moderator here at allnurses worked at the same hospital in McAllen as me. Her opinion of it was similar to mine. I know they've built some new hospitals since I was there, so things may have improved.
Last year, nurseweek did a feature on the Rio Grande Valley. The next issue had several letters to the editor from nurses saying that "The Valley" is a very bad place to work.
As for rentals, you can rent a large house for pretty cheap. I rented a large 3 br, 2 bath with 2 car garage, and a really big back yard for $600. a month in 2000.
Sorry to be so negative about the nursing situation in the area, but that was my experience.
Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Sep 6, '06
Sep 6, '06
I have two Canadian co-workers who got recruited to Brownsville/McAllen area and they both reported the same types of experiences, such as unsafe staffing levels. They both worked there in the late 90's.
Things may have changed since then and the best thing for you to do is be very specific in your interview questions about nurse/patient ratios and how much CNA/tech support you get, etc. but unfortunately, nurse managers and recruiters have been known to lie just to get you in to a place as well.
I still get mail from facilities and/or agencies wanting me to work in the Valley all of the time, many offering big hourly wages for contracts and/or sign-on and relocation bonuses to move there permanently.
However, after living in Dallas, I've learned to be skeptical of such offers.
When I lived in Dallas there were many hospitals offering big sign-on bonuses and people were quitting and starting jobs left and right with all of the money being dangled in front of their faces.
Although there are exceptions, eventually most people in Dallas learned the hard way that if someone is offering you a $10-15,000 sign-on and a big hourly wage to start, there is probably a reason for it, such as bad working conditions.
Hopefully some currently employed nurses in the local area will chime in and give you a more current real scoop on nursing in Brownsville/McAllen.
Sep 6, '06
Yikes! Thanks for the posts. I had heard some similar stories and wanted to get some other feedback. I love the area, but if conditions are that bad, my main concern is protecting my license, especially as a new grad! I am hoping to be able to shadow a nurse at each of the major hospitals, maybe I can then see what kind of staffing practices they have. Although now we might be thinking of staying in DFW for another year after I graduate to let me get my feet wet, then think of moving. Especially if conditions are still that bad!
Feb 12, '07
I can tell you that I currently live in McAllen. I have my LVN but the hospitals that I have checked into do not pay very well. I know most have pulled their LVN's from all specialty areas. I have heard that most hospitals understaff, Brownsville hospitals 16-18 patients. The hospital that I have heard nothing but good things about is Knapp in Weslaco. Don't know what they pay but only a 20 minute drive from North McAllen.
Feb 28, '07
I live in McAllen and things have changed over the past few years. The area has grown by leaps and bounds. We have a new childrens hospital which I have heard the nurses love working there. We also have a heart hospital, McAllen medical center ( I am sure the busiest hospital in the valley by the way i just had my daughter there for two days all the nurses said it has been there favorite place to work they always go back when trying a different place) there is Rio Grande Regional (I have heard alot of good things about this hospital) not to mention all of the surgical outpatient centers and home health agencies. We also have the doctors hospital I heard that starting pay for a new nurse is 29 an hour. Anyways I love it here in the valley and can't wait to start my nursing career. I wouldn't want to be any where else.
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