Well, first and foremost are you an LPN/LVN or a RN? RN's may have better abilities securing employment in a hospital setting, vs a LTC setting, however, there are usually homehealth jobs available for both disciplines. St. Louis has unionized hospitals (Mercy Hospital) is one that used to be, if not still is. Mercy hospital is located in the heart of St. Louis Suburbia.
They also have on in Washington MO which is outside of St. Louis, approx 45 minute southwest. I too believe that once you make a genuine connection with a person, it is so hard to have the disconnect, but family is also important. Mo does NOT have nurse/pt ratios in many institutions, and therfore it may be a culture shock if you are ued to 1:4, or 1:6 depending on the setting. Housing is not as cheap as say Texas is, but you will surely find it reasonable, especially compared to California. Mo has state and federal taxes to be paid as well as personal property yearly...YUCH... but again it all depends on whether you own or rent something. Just like with California, if you move here, you'll learn the areas to stay away from for personal safety sakes, and those which will be okay to visit anytime of day, however, the world, it is a changing, so care should be taken in all instances. Feel free to private message me if you want to "chat" some more.