Search Healthcare Jobs

Top 8 Cities for Travel Nurses (That You May End Up Moving To)

 on /

Ever have a conversation with one of those people in a desirable locale, who say “I came for a week and stayed for a decade?”

Travel nursing affords you the opportunity to experience a large range of workplaces and the towns those workplaces exist in.

While it’s great to see the country (and the world), all that traveling might also lead you to a place you might like to stay in for a while.

Factoring in things like a city’s growth rate, cost of living, average RN salaries, commute time, employment/unemployment figures, and even selections from other “top cities for nurses” lists, we came up with the following faves:

El Paso, Texas

With comparatively-high pay rates for RNs proficient in both English and Spanish and lots of sun to soak up, El Paso has been ranked the safest large city in the U.S. for four consecutive years and the 7th “happiest city to work in” in America in 2011.

The city is home to the Medical Center of the Americas – the only medical research and care provider complex in West Texas and southern New Mexico.

Medford, Oregon

With a population near 72,000, this southern Oregon town is known for wonderful white-water rafting, skiing, hiking, fishing and scenic views only a few dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean.

It’s also home to seemingly endless pear orchards (pears are one of the city’s main exports) and features a number of treed plazas where art festivals take place in the spring and summer.

Anchorage, Alaska

You know Alaska was going to make this list at one point or another.

Despite a high cost of living, a shortage of experienced specialty nurses, such as RNs for the operating room, is leading to higher pay-rates and signing incentives to make living in Alaska’s biggest city (pop. 300,000) realistic for those with such qualifications.

Rochester, New York

On the southern shore of Lake Ontario, this town of 200,000 is home to several Fortune 1000 companies – including the Eastman Kodak Company and the largest wine company in the world – as well as several national and regional companies.

In case the word Rochester doesn’t scream ‘sexy’ to you, consider this: RNs in this city have one of the best income-to-cost-of-living ratios in the country, as well as one of America’s lowest commute times.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

While this well-known beach resort town doesn’t have the highest RN pay rates, it could be a dream home if you’re looking to live near the ocean but without Florida or California’s overcrowding.

You can’t go wrong with over 60 miles of beaches.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Once a sketchy place to settle, Raleigh-Cary shines these days with job growth in technology (home to one of the largest high-tech R&D centers in the world) and academia.

A relatively low income-to-cost-of-living ratio makes this popular tourist destination a great place for well-traveled nurses to settle down.

Salt Lake City, Utah

The world headquarters of the Mormon Church and the nation’s largest industrial banking center offers decent salaries, boasts an almost non-existent unemployment rate, and commuting times so short, it’s barely worth calling ‘commuting’ at all.

The entire Salt Lake Valley is an outdoor person’s paradise, loaded with and driven by a lifestyle that revolves around seasonal recreation pursuits.

San Antonio, Texas

Famous for its River Walk, the Alamo and Tejano culture, San Antonio’s tourism also continues to thrive despite a slowly recovering economy.

The second (and last) Texan city on our list has seen the lowest change in its unemployment rate since the beginning of the last recession.

Things to consider when looking for travel nursing destinations

Best and worst U.S. cities in which to be a nurse

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!