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Local nurses struggle to make ends meet

Offering comfort and care. It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse.

Nicole Butler says her shift can be physically and mentally exhausting.

You can do doubles. 16 hours which sometimes us nurses, who work in doctors offices, do extra jobs that require 16 hour shifts and those are long days, says Butler.

To make ends meet, Butler works two jobs.

Thats pretty standard. I also do travel nursing on the weekend, so that might be a nursing home, acute care, could be psychiatric inpatient, says Butler.

Working seven days a week, Butler makes about $35,000 a year and thats with two nursing jobs. After four years of experience, shes still far from Rochesters average rate of $29 an hour.

Thats super high, I dont make that, not even as a traveling nurse I wish I made $29 an hour, thatd make me happier but I dont, says Butler.

This is not a job people take for the money.

Fresh out of school, Meredith Shulter is about to begin her career as a registered nurse.
Whether you lose them or they get better and go home, still you put your heart and soul out there with them, taking care of them, says Shulter.

Shell start off as $23 an hour. Its not enough to pay off her student loans and afford rent, so shes back at home with her parents.

Its sad that people have to move home and live with their parents and not have that independence right after school, says Shulter.

While it doesnt always pay the bills, its a rewarding job. But with low pay, local nurses say patients could start to suffer as staff sizes continue to shrink.

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