Top States and Hospitals for Nursing Jobs

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    Recent information has been made available for nurses to utilize in finding the best states for nursing jobs. Going even further, a list of the top hospitals is accessible at our fingertips. If you are in nursing school, a recent graduate, or just looking for the best place to work, here is some information and links to help you in your search.

    Which State?

    Graduating nurses often begin their career in the state of their graduation. They have established residences and family that keep them planted for the time being. In the event they decide to move, there is lots of information to help them decide which state benefits nurses over others. According to the latest research, Washington is the leading state for nurses according to the article, “Washington best state for nurses; Louisiana the worst” by Leslie Small.

    Work environment, competitive, salary, and opportunity are some of the parameters used to measure which state welcomes nurses best. Salary is one of the most important factors that nurses look at in comparing jobs. Nursing salaries range from $43,970 annually to $93,700 annually based on the Jacksonville University article, “ The Top Nurse Salary by State”. The lower end of the pay grade is often new nurses with lower educational background advancing to higher nursing education and longer experience for the better salaries.

    California’s nursing pay scale is higher than the national average at $40.90 an hour(The Top). Massachusetts is second at an average hourly nursing salary of $39.32, then Hawaii at $38.47. There are less nurses in some of these areas, so competition is tough. To help nurses be competitive, earning a bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) can help, as well as level of experience and certifications.WalletHub presented an article with a table listing states ranking them on opportunity/competition and work environment - 2015's Best & Worst States for Nurses.

    Each state can have varying numbers in each category, being high in one and low in another. For example, Arizona ranks 6th in opportunity/competition and 39th in work environment. Florida (shout out!) ranks 4th in opportunity/competition and 45th for work environment, while Tennessee ranks low in both (another shout out!) ranks 31st and 44th.

    Best Cities

    If you have a significant other who wants to know if the state you are moving to will also be beneficial to them, check out the following article for general job rankings: 2015's Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job

    Although men in nursing is a growing number, the majority is women. Working mothers find themselves struggling with the daily juggle of home and work. Jackson University in the article by Steve Kanigher, “Wallethub: Nevada one of the worst states for working moms”, put together information to help working moms decide the best place for them. The things that are important to a working mom such as; “child care, day care quality, child care cost, access to pediatric services, and quality of schools” were measured to find the best states (Wallethub). Vermont was the best ranking state and Nevada was the worst for working mothers.

    Best Hospitals

    Hospitals are the largest employers for nurses. When hospitals provide positive reinforcement to their nurses, the nurses are propelled to do better and excel. “30 Most Nurse-Friendly Hospitals in the United States” by Jonathan Beachy tells us that the hospitals that offer many benefits, outstanding work environments, and support teams allow their employees to feel valued.

    The hospital that topped the list was Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Indiana. (Anyone work there?) “Nurses enjoy their work at (Schneck)so much that in 2013 it was revealed that satisfaction levels had gone beyond the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators standard for three consecutive years”. They enjoy low staff turnover along with feeling empowered and involved in their workplace. The second ranking hospital (high ranking for 21 consecutive years) is John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. John Hopkins’ research and educational opportunities keep it on top of the list. To see the full list, please go to 30 Most Nurse-Friendly Hospitals in the United States

    Work Environment

    The common thread connecting the best states and hospitals for nurses is work environment. I think we can agree that we enjoy our job and want to do our best if we feel valued by our employer. So common sense tells hospitals, surgery centers, and physicians offices that what they put into their employers will show, and benefit everyone. In fact, work environment issues according to the article “Work Environment” by the American Nurses Association directly correlate with patient outcomes, length of stay, and chance of death.

    “Healthy work environments are healing, empowering environments that have been correlated with employee engagement and organizational commitment” says Betty Kupperschmidt along with three other authors in the article, “A Healthy Work Environment: It Begins With You”. Trust is a must between the organization and the employee in order for both to thrive. Commitment from both is essential for employees to feel safe both physically and emotionally. Skilled communication is the beginning building tool for trust to begin. High nursing turnover is a result of unhealthy work environments. Nurses have a responsibility to focus on their ability to create a healthy work environment.

    So we have seen that many factors go into finding the best place for a nurse to find a job. Pay and opportunity for advancement and education are valuable components to a nurse when finding a hospital to work at. Cost of living and taxes must be included in the information so a realistic picture is developed. I hope this information helps someone find a fantastic job in their dream location. If anyone works in the top states or hospitals, tell us how you feel about your work environment. If you work in one of the worst ranking states/hospitals, share with us also.


    Beachy, Jonathan. “30 Most Nurse-Friendly Hospitals in the United States”. Top Rn to BSN. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    Bernardo, Richie. “2015 Best & Worst Cities To Find a Job”. WalletHub. May 2015. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    Kanigher, Steve. “Wallethub: Nevada one of the worst states for working moms”. Jacksonville University School of Nursing. May 4, 2015. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    Kupperschmidt, B., Kientz, E., Ward, J., Reinholz, B., (Jan.31,2010). “A Healthy Work Environment: It Begins With You” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 15, No. 1, Manuscript 3. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    Small, Leslie. “Washington best state for nurses; Louisiana the worst”. May 6, 2015. FierceHealthCare. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    University Alliance. “The Top Nurse Salary by State”. Jacksonville University. 7 May, 2015. Web.

    “Work Environment”. ANA: NursingWorld. 2015. 7 May, 2015. Web.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 20, '17
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  3. by   FloridaBeagle
    I don't know about Washington being number 1. I tried very hard to break into that state, and had no luck.
  4. by   Farawyn
    Quote from Beagle62
    I don't know about Washington being number 1. I tried very hard to break into that state, and had no luck.
    Because they are #1 and everyone wants to work there?
  5. by   Not_A_Hat_Person
    That's great, if you can find a job. The unemployment rate for new grads in CA has been close to 50% for a few years now. I went to nursing school in MA, and like many of my classmates, I had to leave the state to find a job.
  6. by   jaycam
    Quote from Beagle62
    I don't know about Washington being number 1. I tried very hard to break into that state, and had no luck.
    We have a strong union here with good pay. Seattle area has 3 universities with BSN programs alone.
  7. by   JuliaRNMSN
    Sounds too good to be true. I'm skeptical but curious. What do you have to pay to get started and what does one do to earn the money? thanks
  8. by   Mavrick
    Yeah for Washington!

    I love working here.
  9. by   kalycat
    Quote from Mavrick
    Yeah for Washington!

    I love working here.
    Me too! I love my hospital and unit and had great experiences during school as well. To the person who mentioned having difficulty breaking in to positions here, I've heard that as well. We have a lot of nursing schools and it seems like the units do tend to pre-hire from their favorites. That said, we also have numerous new grad and new to specialty programs that are not well advertised or circulated on the web. I've seen several lists out there that do not include many of the residency and new to specialty programs in the Seattle area alone, let alone those in Eastern Wa. Washington is a great place to live, work, and be a nurse; be persistent and keep trying if you're still in the market!
  10. by   JuliaRNMSN
    I appreciate your articles esp. best worst cities: employment and socio economic ratings. I honestly would not move to a city based on this article. However, I believe it gives direction if one were thinking about applying for jobs or relocating without a job set up. You could do your own census research, etc. You could look at the historical underpinnings of a city or rural area to get a feel for the cultural/political influences on policy. Some thoughts as I read the article. Thank-you