Nebraska has a vibrant and growing healthcare climate, low cost of living, and some of the nation’s best communities. For travel nurses looking for a new assignment, here are four reasons this Midwestern plains state deserves a closer look.
1. Nurse Licensure Compact
One reason to consider Nebraska is its status as one of the 25 states participating 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 makes practicing across state borders more affordable and convenient, and helps remove the cumbersome expenses and paperwork involved in securing multiple licenses. The NLC is designed to help make the model of nurse licensure more flexible, adaptable, and fluid across state boundaries — increasing access to care while maintaining patient protection at the state level. It makes practicing in Nebraska a quick and easy option for nurses who want the flexibility to travel the nation without all the hassle.
2. A growing healthcare scene
Nebraska is home to nearly 100 hospitals and healthcare institutions, including the nationally-ranked Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. An additional five institutions are high-performing in 22 procedures and conditions, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The nationwide nursing shortage is felt in Nebraska, as with many states with large rural populations. While there are an estimated 24,000 active registered nurses in the state, Nebraska Department of Labor statistics predict state healthcare institutions will need to fill an additional 8,000 nursing positions by the year 2024. Specialty areas, including critical care and operating room experience, will be among the most vital areas of need.
Several local hospital expansions are underway or were recently unveiled, adding new vitality to the state’s healthcare scene and fueling further demand for healthcare professionals. Among the state’s new medical centers are the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, and a new hospital tower for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.
3. Among the best places to live
Nebraska boasts a cost of living well below the national average. Median housing costs in Nebraska are just 74 percent of the national average, and grocery, healthcare, utilities, and transportation costs come in below their national counterparts as well.
The state’s appeal for livability has not gone unnoticed. In recent years, Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city in terms of population, graced Forbes’ list of the Best Cities For Raising a Family. And nearby Papillion clinched the number two spot on Money’s ranking of Best Places to Live, citing the area’s excellent schools, strong jobs forecast, wallet-friendly housing, and revitalized downtown.
4. Access to arts, entertainment, and leisure in the Cornhusker State
Nebraska offers a broad variety of options for entertainment, arts and leisure.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is the top paid attraction in Nebraska, and has earned the distinction of the “world’s best zoo.” The zoo, which has welcomed more than 25 million visitors in its 40 year history, features the largest cat complex in North America and among the largest indoor rainforests and indoor deserts in the world.
The state’s capital city, Lincoln, is home to the University of Nebraska, which affords visitors access to its world-class art museum, natural history museum and the storied Cornhusker football tradition.
Nature enthusiasts can view the famous sandhill crane migration in early spring (one of the planet’s great remaining migrations), or attend the Nebraska Star Party, a major astronomical gathering, where the area’s near-total lack of light pollution produces some of the darkest skies in the country.
Consider Nebraska among your travel prospects
If favorable cost of living, high demand for skilled nurses, and access to arts, entertainment and outdoor recreation are important quality of life factors for you, include Nebraska among your list of prospective travel assignments. Nebraska’s participation in the NLC makes the state a strong candidate for travel nurses.
Are you a travel nurse who has completed a travel assignment or is currently on assignment in Nebraska? What is the most important piece of advice you would share? Let us know in the comments below!