Hi, was wondering if you have experience working in CA as a travel RN; am considering it and any info on staffing, work conditions, any special issues or problems in regard to that state would be MUCH appreciated. And if you have worked there, which cities/facilities/communities? Thank you so much.
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
I have worked in CA from San Diego, to L.A., to San Francisco. Huge state and has just about anything you could want: beaches, water, weather, places to ski, skydive, go whitewater rafting, boating, L.A. nightlife, San Fran’s iconic sites, whatever you want, California has it.
The first thing you should decide is whether you are interested in So Cal or Northern California. Each can be drastically different. San Diego has cool weather almost all year and provides beaches, attractions like Sea World, and a great art Mecca in La Jolla.
Los Angeles has the nightlife and the Hollywood scene. On a night out with friends, I was asked questions on one of Leno’s “Jaywalking” segments on Melrose and met Travolta while taking care of one of Kelly’s family members at a hospital in the marina. There’s nothing quite like the L.A. vibe.
San Francisco has fabulous diversity within the city and I worked at a hospital where I walked to and from work each night while staring at the Golden Gate Bridge along the way (if it wasn’t fogged in of course). If the city is too congested for you, there are also other smaller hospitals around the area that are only a thirty minute commute to get you into the heart of everything without having to work and live in city.
So, you must first decide, which location you want to pursue. I cannot recall how long CA licensure takes, but I know that I applied even before I started looking for assignments because I knew I was going to be working somewhere in the state for my next assignment.
Staffing is usually good since CA has state mandates as far as number of patients you may take in certain areas. Working conditions are going to be based on where you work. No two hospitals are going to be the same (that goes for anywhere you travel). Investigate the hospital and the surrounding area before you commit.
CA also has a “blended” rate meaning your first 8 hours are regular time and after 8 is time and a half. They average these two over a twelve hour shift and this “blended” rate is essentially what you will earn per hour. Not a big concern, CA just does it differently and you should be quoted a “blended” rate on your CA contracts.
In San Diego I worked for Sharp Memorial, loved it. In L.A. I worked UCLA-Santa Monica, loved it. Also St Johns, they terminated my contract :-< . Daniel Freeman Hospital in Marina Del Rey, loved it. Providence Medical in Simi Valley, liked the work, but the commute up the 405 was not nice. In San Fran, worked UCSF. Nice hospital, but contracted for a specific unit and then floated to all the critical care areas. Not what I had signed up for and didn’t feel as if I was treated well on that contract.
So Cal is nicer weather, but jobs usually pay better in Northern Cali.
Hope that helps some. Feel free to write with any other questions you might have or need any help with travel company choices.