One of the biggest benefits of being a travel nurse is, of course… the travel! To enjoy a slice of the American Midwest with sports, festivals, and restaurants, give Indiana a try. Visit Indiana’s tagline is, “They Came. They Loved It. They Stayed.” — because Indiana is a standout place to live, work, and play. Here’s an in-depth look at travel nursing in Indiana and all the reasons to give the Crossroads of America a try!
NLC member status
The State of Indiana is one of the newest members of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), making it an easy adventure spot for travel nurses for the first time. Being an NLC member state makes it faster and easier for any registered nurse with a license in a NLC primary state of residence to get licensed for one of our open travel nursing positions in Indiana.
Professional opportunities for nurses
Indiana boasts 190 hospitals. Notable hospitals include Indiana University Health, with nearly 3,000 beds, located in Indianapolis. It’s part of the nonprofit Clarian Health Partners, Indiana’s largest healthcare system with 16 hospitals and more than 34,000 employees. Clarian boasts that its unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine gives patients access to medicine and treatment options that are available first, and often only, at IU Health. The IU Health system has a total of 2,696 beds.
The system’s flagship hospital, IU Health Methodist, which opened in 1908, made history with several medical firsts, including the nation’s first heart transplant at a private hospital (1982) and Indiana’s first double-lung transplant (1995).
Of note, in 2020, IU Health announced a $1.6 billion plan to expand and consolidate its two downtown Indianapolis hospitals.
The system’s children’s hospital, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, is ranked in 10 out of 10 pediatric specialties, with experienced physicians and nurses in every field of pediatric medicine and surgery.
Like many parts of the U.S., nurses are in high demand in Indiana, resulting in the need to bring in travel nurses. In fact, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development cites registered nurses as one of the most in-demand occupations in the state. In addition, nearly all of the state’s rural counties are designated Health Shortage Professional Areas (HPSAs) for primary care, dental, and/or mental health providers.
Many of the travel nurse positions are located in Indianapolis or Fort Wayne. Still, there are many travel nursing opportunities in Indiana’s smaller cities or towns, such as Huntington (pop. 17,000), Lafayette (pop. 72,500 and home of Purdue), Rochester (pop. 6,200), and South Bend (pop. 102,000 just south of Notre Dame University).
Another way Indiana shines is in the friendly people. “They are very polite, very nice. I’m like in awe at how polite everybody is,” says travel nurse Angela Johnson, who is working a position through RNnetwork near Notre Dame.
How does Indiana compare?
Living in Indiana will allow your money to go further, as Indiana was ranked one of the least expensive states to live in by CNBC, coming in as the 9th cheapest place to live in 2019. Meanwhile, U.S.News & World Report ranked Fort Wayne as #2 for Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. and Indianapolis as #11 for Cheapest Places to Live for 2020-21.
That savings allows travel nurses to tuck aside money while trying new restaurants, adventures, and experiences.
In addition, cities in Indiana are coming in midpack in overall ratings for best places to live. The U.S.News & World Report 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21 ranked Indianapolis #62 and Fort Wane #63.
Things to do in Indiana
While in Indiana, travel nurses have plenty of options. In addition to the famous Indy 500, Indiana offers outdoor activities at numerous local parks, famous festivals, like the BuskerFest devoted to street performers, and the bed race (yes, beds!) at Three Rivers Festival, plus lots more. Feast your eyes on this list of festivals to get inspired.
Outdoors activities like biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, and golfing are popular in warm weather months. Visit some of Indiana’s 26 state parks. Or take a spin on the numerous city bike paths and parks, of which there are many. Fort Wayne alone has 86 public parks covering 2,805 acres.
If you are traveling with kids, you’ll definitely want to check out Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and the interactive Science Central, or the world’s largest children’s museum: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Like sports? Indiana boasts 11 professional sports teams. And don’t forget the Hoosiers college basketball and other teams.
Another area where Indiana shines is in delicious dining options. “It’s just amazing the different foods,” Johnson says. “Whatever you want for that day — Italian, Mexican, American, they have it here in this college town.”
All in all, Indiana makes for a fun, down-to-earth, friendly place for a travel nurse.