“The Land of Enchantment” is a bold state nickname to uphold. But ask any local or visitor — this southwestern gem has earned its enchanting nickname with rich natural beauty and a deep history.
The state also offers a wealth of professional opportunity for travel nurses seeking to sharpen their skills and serve in areas with crucial healthcare needs.
Read on to learn more about life, leisure, and travel nursing in New Mexico – and hear what it’s like to work there from one of RNnetwork’s veteran travel nurses.
“The Land of Enchantment”
Outdoor enthusiasts can spend weeks exploring all New Mexico has to offer. From Carlsbad Caverns National Park and White Sands National Monument to the towering peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, adventurers can explore the depths and heights of New Mexico’s vast wilderness.
Festival goers won’t want to miss the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest gathering of hot air balloons and balloonists in the world. The event features more than 500 hot air balloons and pilots from all over the world.
Art aficionados will appreciate the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, featuring the renowned artist’s work. Additionally, New Mexico is home to thousands of artists and artisans, and the Arts Trails are an engaging way to explore the vibrancy and diversity of the arts in the state.
Historic Old Town Albuquerque offers visitors a variety of restaurants, shops, gardens, galleries, and museums in ten blocks of historic adobe buildings.
Quality of life, cost of living in New Mexico
New Mexico’s adventure-seeking residents and resource-rich environment secured Santa Fe — the state’s capital and third largest city — a spot on Outside magazine’s list of “Best Places to Live.” For the ranking, Outside evaluated “six habits of highly successful cities,” including urban renewal, waterfront revitalization, natural resource exploits, craft breweries, spread out suburbs, and technology hubs with outdoor areas.
Another benefit of travel nursing in New Mexico is that your dollar has the chance to stretch further there. New Mexico boasts a cost of living below the national average. Median housing costs in New Mexico are 87 percent of the national average, and grocery, healthcare, utilities, and transportation costs are below national averages as well.
Nurse Licensure Compact status
One key factor for considering travel nursing in New Mexico is the state’s participation in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC is a multistate nursing license that allows nurses to practice in participating states without having to apply for a new license each time. The multistate license helps remove some of the paperwork and costs involved in relocating, and allows travel nurses more flexibility in choosing a state that provides the job opportunity, cost of living, and quality of life factors they desire.
Significant need for engaged nurses
Our nation’s nursing shortage impacts states from East to West, and is felt keenly in New Mexico. Of the state’s 33 counties, 22 fall below the national average of nurses per capita, with several of the the state’s counties well below the national average (2.9 nurses per 1,000 people, compared to the national average of 9.9 nurses per 1,000 people). With wide swaths of rural land, many New Mexicans live in medically underserved areas.
Travel nurses play an important role in expanding access to care. For travel nurses who desire to make a difference while sharpening their skills, a travel assignment in New Mexico’s medically underserved communities can add a dimension to their experience that is both professionally valuable and personally rewarding.
Another valuable way to develop your professional skills and elevate the standard of care in New Mexico is to become involved in the state’s nursing organizations. For example, the New Mexico Nurses Association and the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence are two such organizations actively engaged in advancing the field of nursing and improving the health of the state’s residents.
Take it from a veteran travel nurse
The are many factors to consider when prioritizing your list of prospective travel nursing assignments. And priorities vary widely, based on individual needs. For outdoor recreation, low cost of living, and ease of licensing, this NLC state could be a strong prospect for your next travel nursing destination.
But don’t just take our word for it! Fran Shew, a cardiac catheterization lab nurse and veteran traveler, counts Albuquerque among her favorite travel nursing destinations in more than 14 years on the travel circuit. Read more about her experience working travel nursing in New Mexico .
Are you a travel nurse who has completed a travel assignment or is currently on assignment in New Mexico? Share your insights and advice in the comments below!