Our nation’s Midwestern region holds strong appeal for its hospitality, natural beauty, and affordability. Deep in the heart of the region is Oklahoma — and like the “Sooners” who raced to the territory to claim a stake of land, Oklahoma still represents a land of opportunity for industrious, hard-working individuals. Read on to learn more about travel nursing in Oklahoma, the Sooner State.
Nursing in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is an attractive destination for travel nurses, due to its status as a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. The NLC is a multi-state nursing license that allows nurses to practice in participating states without having to apply for a new license each time. The multistate license makes practicing across state borders more affordable and convenient, and helps remove the cumbersome expenses and paperwork involved in securing multiple licenses.
Oklahoma faces many of the same challenges facing our nation with respect to the nursing shortage — including an aging population and aging nursing workforce. Because many professionals tend to gravitate toward metropolitan areas, Oklahoma’s rural areas are especially hard hit. Nurses who desire to devote their skills to medically underserved communities could find travel nursing in Oklahoma both professionally and personally rewarding.
Oklahoma is home to more than 150 hospitals and healthcare institutions, three of which are high performing in a total of 10 procedures and conditions, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Quality of life
The Sooner State earned its nickname from early homesteaders who rushed to claim a stake of land in the Oklahoma Territory in the Land Runs of 1889. The state also has a rich Native American and cowboy heritage, which are celebrated to this day through cattle drives, songs, movies, books, and poems.
While the state’s history is still a rich part of the culture today, its larger cities are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan — with a burgeoning dining scene and recent influx of younger residents. Oklahoma’s two largest cities — Tulsa and Oklahoma City — both grace U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Places to Live. The report cites the cities’ emerging cultural scenes and signature hospitality defined by close relationships as important contributors to quality of life in both cities.
Cost of living
For travel nurses hoping to devote more of their hard-earned paycheck to savings, Oklahoma’s low cost of living can help contribute to your financial goals. Cost of living in Oklahoma is well below the national average, with housing contributing most significantly to the margin, at just 62 percent of the national average. Grocery, healthcare, transportation, and utility costs are also lower in Oklahoma than averages nationwide.
Sites, sports, and social scene
Turner Falls Park, home to one of the state’s tallest waterfalls at 77 feet, is a popular destination for adventure-seekers. Nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains, the falls settle into a natural swimming pool and features sandy beaches, natural caves, and camping spots.
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is another must-see for outdoor enthusiasts. The Wildlife Refuge, the oldest facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service system, is nearly 60,000 acres of protected habitat featuring more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Visitors can hike, camp, fish, rock climb, or take guided tours to spot area wildlife — including a herd of nearly 650 bison that call the habitat home.
Oklahoma’s ranching history bears a heavy influence on the region’s culinary tastes — specifically, steak and BBQ. One of the most iconic places to order a steak is Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Oklahoma City’s oldest continuously operated restaurant, which opened its doors more than a century ago. And BBQ lovers will enjoy the contemporary take on BBQ at Iron Star Urban Barbeque in Oklahoma City.
Sports fans also have a lot to cheer about in Oklahoma. From the Oklahoma City Thunder and OKC Energy Football Club to the storied Oklahoma Sooners football program, there is action around the state all year long.
Consider travel nursing in Oklahoma
There are many factors to consider when choosing a travel nursing assignment. For ease of licensing, low cost of living and warm hospitality, Oklahoma is a solid prospect to consider.
Are you a travel nurse who has completed a travel assignment or is currently on assignment in the Sooner State? What tips or advice would you offer a nurse considering a travel assignment in Oklahoma? Comment below!