If you’re a travel nurse interested in practicing in our nation’s best state for nursing, your search will send you to the northeastern stretches of the country. Maine recently claimed the honor of the best state for nurses, adding further to its desirable offering of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and quaint seaside towns. Maine truly lives up to the state’s slogan, “The way life should be.”
Read on to learn what makes the Pine Tree State such an appealing prospect for travel nursing.
1. Ranked the best state for nurses
According to a new report from financial website WalletHub, Maine ranked highest in a list of best places to practice nursing. The ranking considered 21 metrics across two key dimensions: “Opportunity and Competition” (e.g., average annual salary, health care facilities per capita, nursing job openings, quality of nursing schools) and “Work Environment” (e.g., ratio of nurses to hospital beds, mandatory overtime restrictions, quality of the public hospital system).
While the entire nation faces a nursing shortage, the effects of the shortage are felt especially keenly in Maine, most of which is rural. According to a report from the Maine Nursing Action Coalition (MeNAC), Maine could face a shortage of an estimated 3,200 nurses by 2025. The report cites three primary factors for the shortage — including an aging population (Maine has the highest percentage of residents over age 65), aging nursing faculty, and aging nursing workforce (in two key regions, nearly half of RNs are over age 55 and are expected to stop working or reduce hours within the next 10 years).
The state is also rich in healthcare history. Chelsea, Maine, is home to Togus, the first Veteran’s Hospital in the United States. Originally built as a resort hotel in 1858, Togus housed Union veterans of the Civil War before being converted to a Veteran’s Hospital in 1866.
2. It’s a Nurse Licensure Compact state
One of Maine’s biggest draws for travel nurses is its status as a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. The NLC is a multi-state license that allows nurses to practice in their home state and other participating NLC states without obtaining additional licenses. The license makes it affordable and convenient to practice across state borders, and helps remove the often cumbersome expenses and paperwork involved in securing multiple licenses.
3. Fantastic quality of life
Maine’s original state capitol and largest city, Portland, has been named one of the 50 Best Places to Live in America. Situated right on the water at Casco Bay, Portland serves as an important economic and industrial hub, while still evoking the quaintness of a small town. The city features a bustling nightlife scene and all the perks of a waterfront town — including sailing, fishing, and fresh seafood.
And your dollar has the potential to go further here, too. Cost of living in Maine is below the national average — with housing contributing most significantly to the difference. Housing is approximately 80 percent of the national average.
4. Rich in natural beauty
For outdoor enthusiasts, Maine offers a myriad of adventure-packed options. The state is rich in natural beauty — from its craggy coastline and sandy beaches to state and national parks. Maine boasts more shoreline than California — at 3,478 miles, Maine’s is the fourth-longest shoreline in the nation. Maine’s beaches region delights visitors with white sand beaches and a host of recreational activities. Acadia National Park is home to Cadillac Mountain — the first spot in the country to meet the sunrise (though, the distinction is hotly contested — with the easternmost communities of Lubec and Eastport each staking their claims as well). Baxter State Park claims Maine’s highest peak and the origination point of the Appalachian Trail, Mount Katahdin.
For weekend exploration, Maine’s coastal towns offer seemingly endless possibilities. Enjoy a lobster roll in the charming seashore community of Bar Harbor, keep your eyes peeled for a celebrity sighting in the upscale Kennebunkport, dine at one of Portland’s must-try restaurants, or catch a concert at the historic State Theatre.
Consider Maine on your list of prospective assignments
A population in need of healthcare professionals, NLC status and a nationally-recognized healthcare work environment come together to set Maine apart as a desirable destination for nurses. Add to it charming coastal towns and breathtaking natural attractions, Maine is an attractive candidate for your next travel nursing assignment.
Are you a travel nurse who has completed a travel assignment or is currently on assignment in Maine? What were the highlights of your experience? Any tips or advice for nurses considering a travel assignment in Maine? Let us know in the comments below!