7 Cities to Consider for New Nurses
Nationwide, the registered nurse job outlook appears to be bright -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, OOH) expects employment of registered nurses to grow 26 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average occupation. And the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (aacn.nche.edu, 2012) anticipates a nursing shortage across the country -- partly as a result of the health-needs of aging baby boomers.
But some parts of the country may be more attractive than others if you're a registered nurse seeking employment after graduation -- based on employment opportunities, cost of living and the reputation of area hospitals. Relocation to a new city can be a tough decision to make, especially right after graduation, but the cities on this list may offer greater employment opportunities for nurses than other cities. Further, if relocating isn't intimidating to you, why not do it? "If you're in a city where you know things are terribly depressed," Lindsey Pollack, global spokesperson for LinkedIn, told The Fiscal Times (fiscaltimes.com) "it makes sense to move to a place with better opportunities."
What Qualified a City as "One to Consider" for Nurses?
Not only does each of these cities have a strong medical base, they also may offer a good cost of living ratio and employment growth rate. Some cities may also be desirable for new nurses as they are home to or near highly regarded hospitals or medical schools.
7 Cities to Consider for New Nurses
1. Austin, Texas - Austin earned the distinction of being ranked No. 9 on Kiplinger's 10 U.S. Cities with the Cheapest Cost of Living in June 2011 (Kiplinger.com). There are also 32 hospitals in the Austin area according to the U.S. News and World Report (health.usnews.com), and a registered nursing industry projected to experience growth of 33.1 percent from 2010 to 2020 from the Texas Labor Market and Career Information Department (tracer2.com, 2010). This could potentially mean good employment opportunities for new nurses. The University of Texas-Austin is located in the heart of the city and could be a great option for students looking to continue their health care education. The city also offers a number of nightlife and dining opportunities for new nurses in Texas to enjoy during the times they have off.
2. San Antonio, Texas - The metro area of San Antonio has a 12.2 percent lower cost of living than the national average according to Sperling's Best Places (bestplaces.net, 2012). San Antonio-New Braunfels also had the 7th lowest unemployment rate (5.7 percent) among the nation's large metropolitan areas in December 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). San Antonio may be especially promising for registered nurses looking to work in pediatrics. In June 2012, San Antonio gained its third children's hospital, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (mysanantonio.com). While still under construction, the project is the result of a partnership with the Baptist Health System at the University of Texas and is expected to offer world-class care for a growing South Texas population.
3. San Jose, California - The metropolitan area of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara boasts the second highest annual mean wage for registered nurses as of May 2011 at $117,590 (bls.gov OES). San Jose is also home to notable hospitals such as the Stanford Hospital and Clinics which was ranked California's fourth-best hospital by U.S. News and World Report in 2012 for its health care specialties.
4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Forbes (forbes.com) referred to Oklahoma City as recession proof back in 2008, and the city's low unemployment rate (under 5 percent in December 2012 compared to the 7.8 national average according to bls.gov) has helped it live up to that title. A lower cost of living (bestplaces.net, 2012) and a number of the state's highest ranked hospitals - according to U.S. News and World Report (2012) - may make Oklahoma City one the more desirable locations in the country for new nurses.
5. Raleigh, North Carolina - Raleigh is another city nurses may want to consider relocating to. Raleigh-based Duke University Hospital was nationally ranked in 13 specialties, eight pediatric specialties and named the best hospital in the state by U.S. News and World Report in 2012. In addition, according to the University of North Carolina (med.unc.edu, 2008) the state is projected to suffer a severe nursing shortage, which is expected to reach 20,000 in 2015. Medical facilities in the area may be in need of eager, new nurses who are ready to begin building career experience.
6. Seattle, Washington - Although the cost of living in the Seattle, Bellevue and Everett metro area may not be enticing, the higher-than-average annual mean wage of registered nurses, $78,380 as of May 2011 (bls.gov, OES), may be enough to offset it. In addition to possible job opportunities in the medical fields, Seattle is also home to both the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, which were nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report in 2012.
7. Baltimore, Maryland - Baltimore is home to 31 hospitals, five of which -- including Johns Hopkins Hospital -- have been nationally recognized for their specialties by U.S. News and World Report (2012). In addition to playing host to a number of medical facilities and programs, the city has a slightly lower cost of living (bestplaces.net, 2012) than the national average.
As you can see, some cities may be a better option than others when considering where you'd like to begin your nursing career. While relocating for a job can be stressful, intimidating and costly, it can also be an exciting.
Haley Schaeffer is a contributor toseveral noteworthy nursing sites and blogs, and was recently featured on CNAClasses-Online.net, which is one of the internet's leading information resources for aspiring Certified Nursing Assistants.
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