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Top 10 Cities for Travel Nurses to Spend (a Short) Time In

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Travel nursing offers tremendous opportunities to see the world and even your own country.

While not all cities are as livable (or affordable) as others, there are some that deserve a look, if only to be able to say that you’ve experienced one of the most amazing cities on Earth.

Here are our picks for 10 U.S. cities that travel nurses should consider, whether it’s for a long-term contract, or just a few weeks:

New York City, New York

The pay here is among the highest in the country, but that’s not enough to offset the astronomical cost of living.

Travel nurses may find a quick stop here enough time to take in a whirlwind tour of the city’s best museums, restaurants, clubs, shopping, and world-famous landmarks before their finances flatline.

Anywhere in Florida

One blog commenter wrote “South Florida is good place to visit but is a travel nurse nightmare…Palm Beach county is the nurses’ triangle of death. You get the worst of the worse.”

Of course, if you like sun, fun, and excitement, it’s just a matter of figuring out how much Florida you can handle – And lots of full-time nurses have consciously decided to make a home here.

Maui, Hawaii

Along with NYC, any town in Hawaii is among the priciest in America to live in, and competition for work placements – full-time-or-temporary – is fierce.

“The best place and friends I’ve ever had!!” writes one travel nurse. “I got a rent a car, housing stipend (get the stipend, not the apt, my coworkers ended up in dumpy studios), free flight etc.. from the hospital.”

Burbank, California

Get a pair of tickets to a taping of talk shows from Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, or Dr. Phil or go celebrity-watching on the backlots and nearby streets of Hollywood. And – cheesy-as it sounds – the Happiest Place On Earth is just a half-hour drive down the road.

Pay rates are the best in the country and there is a huge nursing shortage. Plus you can’t swing a stethoscope without hitting a beach here!

Las Vegas, Nevada

If the fast-action of the casinos and the shows on the strip aren’t something you can stomach in the long-term, a travel-nursing assignment in Sin City may be just the adventure for you.

Vegas employers have a hard time finding registered nurses to fill positions from a small pool of applicants.

Denver, Colorado

The Mile-High City, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, is a tad on the expensive side, but it’s perfect for someone who wants to have a blast for a season in the great outdoors, attend concerts at the unique Red Rocks outdoor amphitheater, hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and ski at some of the country’s best resorts — including Vail and Aspen.

Seattle, Washington

Says one blog commenter, “My husband & I combined pulled in over 175K in [Southern Cali] and I worked TWO nursing jobs just to pay bills and we NEVER saw our kids because we were working ALL the time just to live! In Seattle, our cost of living was cut by 2/3s. My wage is less but we actually take home more! Plus we are able to watch our boys grow up!”

While some see Seattle as prohibitively expensive in itself, it’s comparatively cheaper to similarly cosmopolitan centers in the Western U.S. and the outlying areas on the edge of town are additionally affordable.

San Diego, California

Cheaper than most parts of L.A., this stand-out on the Pacific Coast enjoys the best climate in the country, with year-round chances to enjoy sun, fun, and a seemingly endless list of attractions including the famous San Diego Zoo, LEGO Land, Sea World, and a thriving downtown core.

San Francisco, California

Another city of titanic rent and house prices, but one of the most amazing towns in the world. (Just picture the opening/closing scene from an episode of Full House).

Nurses on assignment here can visit some incredible landmarks, including Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Ghirardelli Square, Chinatown, Union Square and the delightfully-crooked Lombard Street, plus world-class shopping, dining, and games at Candlestick Park or Giants Stadium. (Plus it’s practically-next-door to the Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park and the California Redwoods.)

Washington, D.C.

Take in the history, arts and culture of our nation’s capital, from the landmarks of the National Mall to The Smithsonian to the upscale boutiques of historic Georgetown and an incredible mix of international restaurants and late-night entertainment in Adams-Morgan.

While crime remains a significant factor in D.C., rates are way down from those of the 1990s and nursing work here for a short time or a long time is a great opportunity.

Any cities we missed? Have your say in the Comments section below…

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Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!