About the Job

The Best States to Be a Nurse

The Best States to Be a Nurse

Being a nurse is a job that requires a special type of person, who has a well-rounded skill set, compassion and the ability to care for a number of people, no matter their race, gender, and age. Perhaps one of the oldest jobs around, nursing is a unique career by which driven individuals are able to apply what they have learned in school as well as hands on experiences gained through clinical work.  For those who want to jump into the fulfilling career however, a variety of questions may come up, including where exactly the best area is to practice nursing.

Wallethub sought to explore this very question.  To do this, the source looked at a variety of factors that would make certain states "attractive" for nurses looking for the best place to work. These specific factors included the number of jobs available in the given states, annual salaries, the number of hospitals, as well as other contributing characteristics.  For the most nursing jobs available per capita, the District of Columbia ranked as the highest (the study included all states within the United States, in addition to the District of Colombia).  As for the fewest available jobs, New York was found to have the least openings per capita.  Much of this particular finding can be dependent on the amount of people within each state, as well the preferences in staffing for each healthcare facility.

In regards to the highest annual salaries (of which compensated for cost of living), Wallethub found Wyoming to rank the highest, with Hawaii ranked as the lowest.  As for the hospitals or healthcare facilities per capita, South Dakota came in at the highest, with Nevada having the fewest facilities.  Wallethub used all of these considerations, in addition of other contributing factors, to identify the following as the best states for nurses to work:

10. Washington

9.  Arizona

8.  Utah

7.  Delaware

6.  North Dakota

5.  Colorado

4.  Texas

3.  Iowa

2.  New Mexico

1.  Wisconsin

Nursing can be hard work.  In order to do well in the world of nursing, employees must be focused and be able to access their skills in high pressure scenarios.  For most nurses, the ability to relax and unwind after work is a must. The state by which a nurse lives in can play a vital role in this, as it can very well dictate how a nurse goes about leisure activities, such as the night life, outdoor activities, or more relaxing activities like nearby spas and places to get massages.  Some of this can very well depend on how populous the respective state is, as this will increase the likelihood that a variety of options for leisure are available.

While choosing a location that provides great leisure activities can be important for nurses looking for the right place to work, many other considerations must be taken.  As the Wallethub article pointed out, some important concerns include a state’s respective number of jobs available, annual salaries, the number of hospitals, however other characteristics of a location to work as a nurse can prove to be important as well.  In nearly every healthcare facility (namely hospitals), a staff will generally include nurses, nurse assistants, and nurse managers. 

Due to these various positions, a hospital staff is naturally a very dynamic group, constantly working to solve a variety of problems that may persist in day to day work.  This being said, communication plays a vital role in maintaining the overall integrity and efficiency of a hospital staff.  A nurse must have a strong relationship with their fellow staff members, which can prove to be a contributing factor for a good place to work.  Without the necessary communication and strong bond between staff members, an unenjoyable workplace may exist for nurses and the other employees of the hospital or other type of healthcare facility (such a clinic).

What does it take to be a nurse?

Working as a nurse is so much more than bathing patients or re-applying wound bandages.  The job demands a unique attention to detail, in that a nurse must be able to access a large library of medical-related knowledge while maintaining a positive and caring attitude.  To access such knowledge, an individual must first earn either their associates or their bachelors degree of nursing. 

The school of nursing will vary based on the type of degree, however the necessary schooling enables prospective nurses to learn “book” knowledge, such as physiology, drug dosages, and so on, as well as hands on knowledge.  While the skills learned from the book prove to be important on the job, the best learned skills will often come from the hands-on experience nurses have while in school.  Once the necessary years of school are completed however, a student cannot simply become a nurse.  In order to work as a nurse, a student must then pass what is known as the NCLEX (The National Council Licensure Examination).  Passing this test ensures that the necessary skills and knowledge have been acquired to work as a nurse.

Leading up to a full-time position as a registered nurse, some students will choose to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).  This job can be either a paid or unpaid part time position that students can work while going to school.  In doing so, students are able to better understand the inner workings of hospitals and what it takes to work as a nurse.  Once all of the schooling is done, in addition to passing the NCLEX, an individual can then choose to specialize in a certain position as a nurse.  Doing so will often require either on the job training or the completion of a certain certification test.

The future for nurses

As the information early in the piece suggests, a variety of locations exist for nurses who want the most out of their workplace.  This includes the availability of jobs, annual salary, as well as the number of hospitals within a state.  Nurses must also consider other characteristics, and are now able to utilize different resources in order to better understand what these characteristics may be.  Sources like Glassdoor can provide real, unfiltered reviews of what it was like for an employee to work in a specific healthcare facility, as well as other useful information like salaries for different available positions.  While the decision to choose a specific location can be difficult for nurses looking to take the leap, the resources continue to grow and make the search a bit easier.