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Top States to Travel to for a High-Profile Career in Nursing

Top States to Travel to for a High-Profile Career in Nursing

Nursing is a great career to get involved in because there are so many areas of medicine you can go into. More than the job role, you can also work anywhere in the country. When you are young and have your options, the best choice is to not pick based on statistics but to make a list of top choices and head out and travel to them. It’s the best way to find your new home and start a thriving career in nursing.

Despite common belief, the best states to be a nurse are not always the riches states. California and New York don’t make this list, for example. Not only can you find a better wage for being a nurse in other states, but you can also enjoy lower cost of living. Oregon, for example, has the highest mean wage for RNs at $83,867.Arguably, the best states to live for nurses in are:

  • Oregon
  • Minnesota
  • Washington
  • New Mexico
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • Arizona
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Iowa

The States with the Worse Prospects for Nurses

Whether it is due to low wage, poor working conditions, or a lack of job opportunities, these are the states with some of the worst prospects for nurses:

  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Ohio
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

It is important to note, however, that some of the reasons that the states and districts mentioned in the worst are where they are. The District of Columbia, for example, has the highest competition, with 20.49 nurses out of 1000 in the population. This can make securing a job in the district difficult, but many nurses will state that having a healthy supply of RNs:

  1. Improves quality of life
  2. Improves patient outlook
  3. Improves mortality rates

Of course, the District of Columbia also has the nation’s lowest number of nurses per hospital bed, meaning patients in Minnesota have the highest number of attending nurses available.

The states with the least amount of competition based on projects are Nevada and Utah.

How to Determine Quality of Life for a Nurse in Each State

If you have your heart set on a region, however, then living in that region is where you should go. If you want golden sands or upstate wilderness to be a part of your life, then finding the best state that offers these features is a must.

When you know the average wage for nurses at varying stages of their careers, you can much better plan for your future. Take Kentucky for example, where nursing wages range massively:

LPNs and LVNs salary: $39,460

RN salary: $59,810

Nurse Anesthetists salary:  $181,120

Nurse Practitioners salary: $94,790The average wage will vary further depending on which city you are located in. Louisville and Jefferson County, for example, are the highest paying, alongside Lexington in Fayette County and Elizabethtown in Fort Knox.Another benefit of states like Kentucky is that it is a Nursing Compact state. This means that after you attend an online nurse practitioner school in Kentucky and acquire the license, you automatically have the license and right to work in 24 other states in the US.

A Compact State vs. a Non-Compact State

Nursing Licensure Compact is an agreement between a growing list of states that allows you to work within the NLC states with one single license. You will have to transfer your license if you move your permanent residence, but if you intend to work in one state and go out for different assignments through different NLC states, then there is no extra work for you to do.

States not within the NLC do not allow this. Your license will only be able to be used within that state, so when visiting, you will want to ensure that your potential new home ticks all the boxes:

  1. Great job opportunities
  2. Great housing market
  3. Affordable living
  4. Strong community culture
  5. Short commute distances

Make a List of Top Rated Hospitals to Work For

Make a list of top rated hospitals, clinics, and other workplaces. This will help inform you of which cities and towns are best to travel to when exploring your options.

Acquiring Your Degree

The road to becoming an APRN (Advanced Practitioner Registered Nurse) is a long one. While the first two stages, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Licensed Practical Nurse, can be done fairly easily without a formal degree, the more advanced roles will require a BSc in Nursing and eventually a MSc in Nursing.

You can start your nursing career without heading to school if that is what you want, but do keep in mind where you want to go and how you want to achieve your degree once the time comes to become an RN or a APRN.

If you plan on moving between starting your degree and finishing it, ensure that you can easily transfer your credits.

The Importance of Traveling Before You Decide on Where to Study

Where you work is critical. Nursing is a demanding profession, and you need to have a strong support system in place to thrive. This means that having a healthy work-life balance is critical, and by travelling to the best states and cities for nursing, you can find the perfect new home for yourself.

Keep Your Options Open Until You Find Your Passion

“Nurses are there when the last breath is taken, and nurses are there when the first breath is taken. Although it is more enjoyable to celebrate the birth, it is just as important to comfort in death.”

—Christine Bell

You are not beholden to the traditional pathways in nursing. You don’t need to secure a Bachelors before you can get hired, for example. You can start early on, get experience right from the bat and then work through the qualifications that will let you live out your dream as a high-profile nurse. You can also travel and work (especially within compact states), or you can skip the hospital environment entirely and work at schools or universities.

Your career options are vast, and so too are the places you can live. By visiting and traveling to the top places for nursing, you can find a home and build a thriving career.