There are a variety of factors that determine the best places for nurses to work. This is because there are a number of indicators, from salary to education to air quality that determine overall quality of life. This is according to the Calvert-Henderson quality of life indicators, which break quality of life into its underlying components.
There are five U.S. cities that, on average, have very well-compensated nurses. Not surprisingly, these are also very large cities -- New York, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas. Nurses in these cities make between $45,000 and $76,000 per year, depending on their individual specialty and experience. This means that if money is the major factor for your definition of "best," then you should absolutely live in one of these cities, particularly New York or Los Angeles, where nurses make a minimum of $50,000.
While salary is important, opportunity is just as important -- the more jobs there are, the more nursing jobs there are, which gives you more room to develop professionally, either with regards to specialization or climbing the supervisory ladder.
There are a number of smaller, more out-of-the-way cities in the U.S. that do not command as high salaries as the big five above, but do have extremely rapid job growth. Lincoln County, South Dakota, for example, has almost 70 percent job growth. However, this is not restricted to towns and small cities -- Fort Bend County in Texas, which includes Houston, has 56 percent job growth.
Quality of Life
"Quality of life" is a subjective term, with everyone applying different criteria to it. However, there are a few things people can agree on -- low commute times, clean air and age. This latter point is with regards to youth; if you are a young nurse, you may find yourself more comfortable in a young city.
The number one cities for each of these criteria are as follows: Logan, Utah; Richmond, Virginia where air is ranked a "good" every single day; and Jacksonville, North Carolina, where the average age is 23.
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