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Which states do you find that are better for nurses and which are the worst?


I was just curious to see if there are some states that may be more pro-nursing. For example, it sounds like Pennsylvania definitely is not a choice state if you want to be a nurse.


Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.


I'll put in a plug for South Carolina.....we haven't been AS affected by the shortage (yet.) We have some pretty good hospitals...despite whatever grumbling I may have done.

It looks as if our salaries compete favorably everywhere except maybe Cal and HI.

Almost anywhere in the state is 2 hours from the ocean or the mountains.

It doesn't SNOW!! We don't have a lot of alligators. We do have gnats and fire ants though.

C'mon up/down/over and try it here.


Finally, the reply went through. Hi. I'll pitch for South Carolina's neighbor, Georgia. It has many of the same attributes as far as climate and availability of ocean and mountains as South Carolina. Georgia is connected to the mountainous state of

Tennessee and low lying states like Florida and Alabama where beaches can be found.

The governor and other state reps have said the economy is fairly stable and diversified and the state budget looks good. There's a lot of growth going on in both Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia's pay may be the highest of all the southern states. But, visit and see what you think. Best wishes.


Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation. Has 20 years experience.

Keep going south. I'll put a pitch in for Alabama. By comparison, the pay is probably low, but so is the cost of living. We have all the benefits listed above. The nursing shortage still hasn't hit here quite as hard, YET. We have little snow and ice, fairly nice weather as a whole. It does get pretty humid in the summer. So, just come on down...ye hear!

Hi there,

I was reading your post and you stated that PA is not a choice state to be a nurse. As someone contemplating being a nurse, and since I live in PA, this could have some bearing on my decision!:eek:

Could you fill me in on the why PA is not a choice state?



Andy S., BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience.


I am a diehard AZ fan. I love it! (maybe because I was born and raised there). The salaries are pretty good as well as the benefits; but the nursing shortage has been there for a while. I had to move a year ago for school :( (RN to BSN), but I hear from my friends that they are still using travel nurses pretty heavy in some places.

But the state is a great place to live. Sorry just homesick I guess.

Andy Lane


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 43 years experience.

PA is one of the top 3 states in educating nurses.

We have:

24 Diploma Programs, 5 in Philadelphia

22 ADN Programs

34 BS Programs, 2 closing

39 LPN Programs

Our SBON is conservative due to the legislature who controls expenditures for modernization and appointments to the SBON. We have a diverse population in our two cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia while most of the state is rural. Both of these cities offer a wide avenue of practice settings, especially nontraditional. Phialdelphia has several independent NP groups serving low income residents, a niche market they chose due to grant funding for nursing demonstration projects in econically underserved areas. The Abbottsford Homes Center has decreased ER visits at MCP hospital by 15,000 a year...quite impressive.

I am seeing NP's increasing being utilized in fast track ER's, doing Preadmission testing health screenings, working in outreach vans and with several Specialty groups: cardiology, transplant, + dialysis.

The nursing shortage is evident in the 5- county Phila area with marked increase in sign-on and retenion bonuses in the newspapers.

Over the past 5 years, the unionized facilites in the Phila area have broken away from being managed by non-professional groups and formed a seperate nursing union: PASNAP which last year affiliated with CNA. I know several of their nursing leaders who have been exceptional nurse advocates over the past 15 years. They said NO to management when mgmt wouldn't listen to them, and unionized. When non-nurse management wasn't meeting the nurses needs, they formed PASNAP (http://www.pennanurses.org) leading the way for nursing workplace conditions in the Phila. area and now the state.

PSNA is highly influential in the state, has good working relationship with SBON for promoting and PROTECTING nursing

practice and has been working vigirouosly to promote healthcare legislation in the state. It was successful in stopping physicians from having UAP's be under their jurisdition and fought a long campaign for NP prescriptive practice against both MD's and legislature.

So no, I don't think PA is a bad place to practice in. We have no more problems than any other area.

you asked which states are most pro-nursing but I notice most of the replies talk about their geographical area. I was thinking along the same lines as Nurskaren's reply. When you said "pro-nursing", thats what I thought of too. So about NY, I would answer as she did.

Our legislature is pro-nursing, nurses from all over the state are involved in writing, lobbying for, and getting state laws passed that improve the situation for nursing, healthcare, and pts in this state. We have the nations strongest and largest professional nurses union - our state association which, is as one of the most pro-active and focused on the bedside nurse, is a leader and model for others in the nation.

Most of our contracts have specified nurse:pt ratios, limits on mandatory ot, specific workplace safety rules, nurses involved in policy-making that affects their practice at their facilities, etc. Benefits, compensation, salaries are better here. In all of the state, salary in NYC is the highest. NYC salary is comparable to CA & HI. Unfortunately, the cost of living comes close to those places too.

As always, benefits, compensation and salaries can be improved upon & that is an ongoing fight. Especially in the upstate, more rural areas.

The state board of nursing is progressive and has a close working relationship with the state nurses association, which as I said is itself extremely pro-direct care (bedside) nurse.

Historically, the NorthEastern states have been more "pro-nursing" than the Southern states. It might have something to do with decades and decades of learning from nursing unions.

I can speak for hospital nursing in the Pittsburgh area of PA. Salaries have been historically low because nurses were always more plentiful then other places. This is mainly because of the large amt of nursing schools in the area. Now however that has all changed. Salaries are still on the low scale even compared to the Phillie area of PA, but things are going to have to change. The shortage has really hit Pittsburgh hard over the past 6mos. All major hospitals are on Code Red status(no beds,because no one to staff them)at one time or another. One hospital(one of the biggys) has been on Code Red for several months. Turnover in the trauma centers is very high.

Same story as everywhere...

too much work, not enough pay

cut in ancillary staff which adds jobs to already stressed RNs

mandatory OT

no support from adm.

little or no MD support

no appreciation or respect

enough said:(


Specializes in NICU.

My two cents... we could fall in the middle, depending on your perspective. Right now we're experiencing a serious shortage; the nursing and medical ads take up about 50% of the employment section, and the rest is split between aaaaaaaaaaaall the other jobs!! Pool nurses willing to travel to and fro from hospital to hospital are getting paid upwards of 27-30 bucks an hour; benefits can be sketchy. We're a little backwards, in general...I can't speak for rural hospitals, but this isn't exactly a rich economy down here right now. You have to think about what type of atmosphere you'd want to work in. If you like teaching hospitals, which can sometimes be a bit slipshod, this is the place to come...with all of these med students hovering about, nurses have a lot of seniority, experience, and knowledge on them...we can be more independant in our nursing duties, and they actually listen to our suggestions regarding patient care, etc. (well, for the most part!). The 'suburban' hospitals can be a little worse...some pay more money than the hospitals downtown but they have a higher turnover rate, so you know what that means!!! New grads would love it, though, because almost every single hospital is hiring new grads directly onto their chosen units, rather than only hiring experienced nurses. We have an excellent, world-reknowned (how do you spell that? It's been a long day...) children's hospital, as well. All in all, I'd say it's not half bad...depends on who you listen to. The city can be great, but it's a very large, sometimes very poor city. Great opportunities for patient teaching and community outreach. Very diverse population. That's it in a nutshell! ;>P

No one has mentioned CA ... Wait before anyone makes any assumptions (we do have a flakey reputation) remember CA is a LONG state. I am in central CA which is extremely different from LA or SF... Have to say we are not as advanced in many ways but are feeling the nursing shortage as the rest of the state. Many local hospitals are using traveling nurses and a few of our local hospitals have recently gone union (hope it helps). As for me, in home health, there are still many, many opportunities (I'm ET nurse). Living rate is high but wages are pretty good also. Our state rep locally is a retired nurse so seems to do what she can toward the shortage. NP are being used more.. CNS roles are only starting to become available (I'm in school for geriatric CNS). Great weather !!!!

Thanks Cory RN, CWOCN :cool:

I have to contradict JT and say New York is not a good state to be a nurse it, Sorry JT but you NY Cityers need to stop thinking that the city is the whole state. Most of the unions including the NYSNA are weak and get nothing accomplished. Most contracts are crap and do not specify nurse to patient ratios. wages are very low, taxes are the highest in the country and the sad part of is most of it gets filtered to NY City. I tell everyone to gte out of NY ASAP if they can, unfortunatly i am trapped here few at least a few more years, maybe months, but probably years.

First, I would like to thank you all for responding. I was actually kind of surprise about the # of responses, but it was excellently what I wanted when I posted.

Second, I would like to apologize to those in PA. I was influenced somewhat by some of the posts on the BB that were pretty down on PA. Maybe in some states, the shortage and problems have to hit bottom before the powers that be decide to bring up the standards. Again, I apologize for any offense.

Sorry, I meant exactly not excellently. Spent most of the time at the books and I can't think straight.:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Interesting question!!! As someone who has had the opportunity to have worked in several states, I would say without a doubt that Arkansas is not nurse friendly. Salaries are low and the cost of living is not as low as one would expect. I know so many nurses that cannot afford health insurance on their present salaries. Now that is a sad situation. :rolleyes: The state is finally looking at requiring CEUs which I think will be good for our profession.

I have to contradict JT and say New York is not a good state to be a nurse it, Sorry JT but you NY Cityers need to stop thinking that the city is the whole state.

If you read my post, youd see that I did make that distinction and pointed out that there is a difference between upstate & the City. I do not think of the City as "The whole state" nor did I infer it.

I disagree very strongly with you that NYs state nurses association "is weak and does nothing". In fact, it is a leader & model for other nursing representative organizations in the nation. Are you a member of it or involved in any of the work it is doing in Albany? Are you aware of all the work it has already done & the laws we have in the state now because of it? If not, how can you make a comment like that as fact? If youre interested in what is going on in your state, you can find lots of information at its website.


Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

Well, being a native of Pennsylvania, I was born and raised in Erie(well Fairview PA). I graduated in 1997 from Edinboro Universtiy of Pennsylvania with my BSN. I began working at a hospital in Erie in Dec.1998. I currently am working in Ohio, in a 226 bed facility. I am getting paid 4 dollars more an hour in Ohio than I was making after 3 years at the Erie hospital. Erie, PA (which is the 3rd or 4th largest city in PA) pays nurses very badly.

That is one of the reasons I quit working in PA. Plus having moved to Ohio in 1999, i was tired of commuting 35 miles one way to work. Now, I only drive 15 miles one way. Saves big bucks on gas!! Especially now that in my area of Ohio, regular unleaded gas is selling at a $1.79/gallon in Conneaut.

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