I am a nursing student in Canada (Vancouver, BC), finishing up my final year of BSN. I have thought about it for awhile now, and I am really interested in travel nursing. I am specializing in Emergency nursing currently, and have a job lined up in local ER, and orthopedic surgery.
I would really appreciate some input as to what nursing is like in California (LA, or San Fransisco area).
Sorry about the list of questions, I would really appreciate any and all input!
Questions pertaining to Travel nursing in California:
-If you have done travel nursing, what was the experience like? How challenging was it to secure a position?
-How did you get started with travel nursing (years of experience, specialty)
-Where did you travel nurse, and how lucrative was it ($$)?
Questions for LA/SF nursing:
-What do you enjoy the most about nursing in these areas?
-How is the job market? Housing situation?
-How available are opportunities for advancement in nursing with further education (with Masters/PhD)? (Teaching/Research/Entrepreneur opportunities)
-I know no one in LA/SF, what's scene like on making new friends?
Thank you so much for reading this post!
I didn't do travel nursing, but did relocate from Canada to California. I had looked at both travel nursing when I moved here, and ended up landing a full time position at a hospital I wanted to work at before I ended up signing a travel contract. I would recommend you get at least 1 year of experience before you do travel nursing (I would do at least 2) because the hospitals expect you will adapt fast, and you will have to learn a slightly different system here in the US. The hardest part for me was learning a new electronic charting system.
As for licensing, the CA license by endorsement is the hardest is the hardest in the country. I found it way easier to get a license for WA, OR and TX, over CA. Some states also require that you have a social security # before you apply (which you can't get until you have a visa here).
As for positions in the Bay Area (SF/Oakland/SJ)...there are lots. And the pay is great (the most in the whole country). But the cost of living is bananas. You can make a ton of money out here (especially if you can save and are going back to Canada eventually where the exchange rate is lower). And if you live in the Bay Area, there is a ton of road trips you can do or hikes that are only a short distance away.
Travel nurses meet other travel nurses fast and seem to find friends quickly. There is a Bay Area facebook group that you can join for travel nurses where you can meet up for hikes/drinks/events, or there is meetup. There are also tons of people who relocate here, so if you are willing to meet new people, you can find friends.
If you will be here longterm and take a staff position at the hospital (which does happen), some hospitals offer good education incentives. My hospital offers yearly education $ and paid time (because you are required to do education hours for your license), and have incentives to go back to school as well.
I never did travel nursing, but I would highly avoid the SF area unless your travel agency is able to compensate you enormously for living expenses. I hear nursing pay is high in the SF area, but I know for a fact that cost of living is ridiculous. Just randomly came across an article on my phone the other day saying that a household income of around 100k is considered "low income" in the SF area.
@ westcoastlife Did you work outside California first or did you get your TN and SSN, moved back to Canada for a bit, and then applied for your CA license?
I was already going through immigration before I applied for the CA license. If I had to do it again faster if I was single, I would have gone to another state, did a contract of travel nursing and get my TN/SSN, then apply to California.
But California was so difficult to get a license here, I would have skipped it completely and worked elsewhere unless I was a planning on moving here permanently.
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