Best States For Nurses – Happiest Places to Live As A Nurse

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Best States For Nurses - Happiest Places to Live As A Nurse. What is the best state for nurses? #thenerdynurse #nurse #nurses #beststates #relocation

Best States For Nurses - Happiest Places to Live As A Nurse

What are the best states for nurses? When we are looking at the best places in the USA to work as a nurse, we want to look at the best salaries, nursing demand, and average hospital ratings, among other factors. 

Best States For Nurses 

Are you looking to make a move to another state? As a registered nurse, where are the best states to live and work? You want a place that will pay you the best with the lowest cost of living. 

There are some things that won’t change state by state, and these are things that make working as a nurse exhausting and difficult. Situations such as mandatory overtime, disrespectful behavior by patients, and unionization are all things that happen in every state. 

Despite the stress that comes from working as a nurse, this is still a very lucrative and rewarding career. The nursing industry is set to grow at more than double the rate of any other occupation through the year 2026. 

So, where should you work? Let’s compare the most popular states in the USA. 

Ranking Factors

There are lots of ranking factors that you could consider, but we will look at these: 

We will also be considering data pulled from other sources first. Wallet Hub compiled a list based on two factors – opportunity and competition and work environment. They went into detail, giving weight to things like cost per credit hour for nursing school, nurse to patient ratios, and annual salaries. 

Here are the best states for nurses – is your state on the list? 

#1 Minnesota 

The biggest city in Minnesota is called the “twin cities” of Minneapolis-St. Paul. From hockey to the Mall of America, Minnesota has a lot to brag about. Lots of people that live here claim the people are incredibly nice, even if the winters are really cold. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #3
  • Average RN salary: $78,920
  • Nursing demand: 1,781 jobs 
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 86%

#2 Oregon

Way over on the northwest coast is a state that people don’t want to leave. Oregon is known for its stunning landscapes and pleasant weather. The cost of living in Portland is pretty high, but there is a very high demand for nurses. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #27
  • Average RN salary: $88,770
  • Nursing demand: 6,671 jobs 
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: Data Inconclusive

#3 Washington

Washington is one of the fastest-growing states in the USA. If you don’t like crowded cities, avoid Seattle. The rest of the state is absolutely gorgeous. And according to Wallet Hub, it is projected to have one of the lowest job competitions by 2026. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #1
  • Average RN salary: $82,670
  • Nursing demand: 7,000 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 86%

#4 Colorado 

Colorado is another stunning place to live. It has some of the lowest rates of pollution and the most gorgeous sceneries, all over the state. The cost of living is a bit higher than the average of USA in total. But, the salaries make up for it. And right now there are lots of nursing jobs to be had. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #10
  • Average RN salary: $74,240
  • Nursing demand: 18,990 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 85%

#5 New Mexico

At the time of this article, there are currently not many nursing jobs in New Mexico. However, this number is projected to change. The cost of living in New Mexico is pretty low and the average salary is really good compared to this cost of living. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #46
  • Average RN salary: $67,989
  • Nursing demand: 1,687 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 79%

#6 New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the 2nd most nursing job openings per capita in the USA. And with this high average nursing salary, this is looking like a really great place to work! 

  • Quality of life ranking: #2
  • Average RN salary: $70,040
  • Nursing demand: 1,343 jobs 
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 78%

#7 Montana

Montana is filled with wide-open spaces and ranches, and a demand for more nurses. You can earn a comfortable salary and not have to deal with congested city life. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #29
  • Average RN salary: $66,280
  • Nursing demand: 1,608 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: Data Inconclusive

#8 Arizona

Arizona is another place that isn’t as populated as other states in America. There is a really high demand for nurses here and lots of nurses say they love working here. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #34
  • Average RN salary: $77,000
  • Nursing demand: 3,424 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 83%

#9 Maine

If you enjoy cold weather and fresh seafood, life in Maine might be perfect for you. And right now nursing jobs are on the rise. This state made the list of the best states for nurses because it has so many job openings per capita. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #32
  • Average RN salary: $66,187
  • Nursing demand: 1,081 jobs
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 83%

#10 Iowa

Finally, if you like small-town, midwest life, then consider a job in Iowa. Salaries here are lower due in part to the lower cost of living. The nursing job demand here is growing and set to continue growing. 

  • Quality of life ranking: #14
  • Average RN salary: $56,188
  • Nursing demand: 2,764
  • Overall hospital rating by nurses: 84%

Best States for Nurses: Travel As A Nurse

While settling down is always an option, so is living life like a nomad. There are lots of job opportunities for people that love to travel. The first thing you will need is a travel nurse recruiter. Then you can begin to work all across the nation, filling in during short-staffed moments.

And who knows? You might just discover a state that you really enjoy and settle down in! 

More Nursing Jobs

Keep your mind open as you look for a job as a nurse. These jobs could be a really great fit! 

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