Choosing to move is complicated for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Nurses Moving for Career Opportunities

To move or not move, that is the question.

Nurses moving for career opportunities—will changing states change your work life and overall work experience?  Recently one of the nurses in our network mentioned that she was thinking about relocation. What are some of the considerations for nurses who are considering moving out of Minnesota?  There are many factors to consider.  One might be the policies about Covid in the State where you are thinking of moving.  How do the numbers of people who have Covid in the state compared to other states?  Is this a state where there are many or few restrictions?  All of these Covid related factors will likely have an impact on nursing in a given state.  

It is important, as a nurse, to determine where you can develop your personal, family, and work connections to create roots that will help you be happy and successful. A report a few years ago in WalletHub, compared the “50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics that collectively speak to the nursing job opportunities existing in each market and looked at factors such as the number of nurses per capita, number of job openings, average annual salary, average number of hours worked, and number of health care facilities in the area.” According to this report from WalletHub, Washington State ranked number one overall for nurses, followed by Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Texas. In terms of highest salary (when adjusted for cost of living), Texas offers the highest annual salary followed by Michigan, Nevada, Idaho, and New Mexico.

The report further pointed out that, “Job opportunities are booming in the District of Columbia, which had the most nursing job openings per capita, along with New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Maine, rounding out the top five. The nation’s capital is projected to have three times as many nurses per capita as Nevada by 2022, though competition will be high. Nevada, on the other hand, has the lowest competition when it comes to jobs with Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Utah trailing.

Moving Nurses–So how does one decide where they should consider their next career move? 

In thinking a potential move though, there are several questions to ask yourself.  How will your day-to-day activities change?  Are you aware of the pressing issues or health care policies are in the states you are targeting for your move?  What specialty do you want to pursue in the future?  How can you best balance your work and life? Are you interested in continuing education?  Might you want to pursue telehealth opportunities?  How close do you want to live to your family?Nurse specific considerations include the following:

  • What are the licensing requirements in the state where you are considering movingWhat does the Board of Nursing of that state require?
  • Is the state a compact state? Compact states provide a more seamless state-to-state practice and additional state licensing may not be required.
  • What is the practice environment like in the state you are considering?

Another option is to learn more about new geographic regions by becoming a traveling nurse for a period of time. Especially during times of the Pandemic, travel nurses are in great demand and are paid well to fill in the staffing gaps due to Covid. There are even some tax advantages due to Covid. Travel nurses are hired to fill positions around the country and around the world. These are short term opportunities in most any type of healthcare setting, including hospitals, residential care settings. These nurses can be either generalists or specialists. For a broader overview, visit the travel nurse page in the Nurse Journal at

Reasons to consider moving for nurses

Sometimes it is challenging to find the opportunity to expand into a specific specialty, so mid-career nurses consider moving an opportunity for promotions, significant leadership or teaching opportunities, and other more advanced and specialized roles. Some specialties have required number of years of experience to be eligible. Relocation is one way to find an opportunity that is not available in your local area.

There are other quality of life considerations when you are thinking of moving to a new state.  In Minnesota, we know that weather is a significant factor, the quality of schools, crime rate, cost of living and potential salary differences. It would be good to look up the cost of living and average salary for nurses so these issues can be factored into your moving decision.


Source: Article by Tara Shelton Harris, The Daily Nurse, The Pulse of Nursing, How to Become a Travel Nurse | 


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