Deciding to become a nurse is only one step on the path to a nursing career. A new nursing student must not only dedicate her or himself to the process of learning their craft, but also decide the best school, online nursing programs, specialization and level of education and training needed to achieve their nursing career goals. Once a student has achieved their educational goals and can finally begin looking for a job as a nurse, RN, LPN or even as a nurse educator, case manager or other nursing specialist, there can be one more consideration – which location is right for a nurse?
The factors that lead into a decision to relocate in a better area with more opportunity for growth in the nursing field are many. Family, of course, plays a big role in the decision to relocate, and many nurses are content to stay within their childhood towns in order to retain familial bonds. For the nursing student who is more career-focused, considerations beyond family and friends can take precedence over social bonds, leading to a career choice based on salary potential and the opportunities for growth in different locations.
The salary paid to a Registered Nurse can vary by region and type of employment. For instance, RNs who work in schools make less money than those employed by hospitals. In terms of locations, there are different considerations aside from salary that can make or break a job offer. Cost of living is the inflated value of groceries, clothing, utilities and housing that varies by the location. Most metropolitan cities with a large population have a higher cost of living, so while the salary may be higher, the actual costs of living in the area can affect the total compensation offered. Cities like New York, New York may offer a higher salary (an average of $53,093 - $76,498) but the cost of rent and the value of the living space reduces that number significantly while areas like Atlanta, Georgia offer a salary range of $45,662 - $65,638 along with a lower cost of living. Smaller cities, like Oklahoma City, Oklahoma have an advantage over both of these areas as no location will be unaffected by the nursing shortage.
With all of the decisions to make in regards to a nursing career, the location of the hospital or other medical facility in which the nurse in employed can make the difference in career satisfaction, opportunities for growth and the types of nursing specialties to pursue. After weighing all options, a student interested in relocating to a new area can have not only a new idea about what is their best career plan, but even learn the best locations in which to pursue their nursing career goals.