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Travel nursing in Tennessee: Music, beauty, and service in the “Volunteer State”

Landscape photo of Tennessee

According to some sources, Tennessee’s nickname — the Volunteer State — hails from the War of 1812, when scores of volunteer soldiers from Tennessee played a pivotal role in the effort. Other sources cite the state’s tremendous response to the call for volunteers during the Mexican-American War.

Whichever the origin, the legacy bears an important impact on present-day Tennesseeans, whose communities rank among the best places to live in the country.

Nursing in Tennessee

One aspect that makes Tennessee especially attractive to travel nurses 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 makes practicing across state borders more affordable and convenient, and it helps remove the cumbersome expenses and paperwork involved in securing multiple licenses.

Cityscape of Tenneessee

As with many areas around the country, Tennessee is feeling the effects of the nationwide nursing shortage, particularly in its rural regions. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, midstate Tennessee continues to see fewer nurses and nursing professors each year. A travel nursing assignment in Tennessee’s medically underserved communities can be a professionally and personally rewarding experience.

Tennessee has more than 140 hospitals and healthcare institutions. Of these, Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Methodist Hospitals of Memphis are both nationally ranked, according to U.S. News & World Report. Eleven additional hospitals are high performing in select specialties, procedures, and conditions, according to the same report.   

Affordable cost of living

Tennessee boasts a low cost of living that can help travel nurses save toward their financial goals. Cost of living in Tennessee is below the national average, with housing contributing most significantly to the margin, at just 71% of the national average. Grocery, healthcare, transportation, and utilities costs are also lower in Tennessee than averages nationwide.

Life and leisure in Tennessee

For music enthusiasts, few destinations are as richly rewarding as Tennessee. From Elvis Presley’s famed estate, Graceland, to Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway” — there is something to suit nearly every visitor’s tastes. Nashville is nicknamed “Music City” — offering everything from museums, tours, record shops, shows, and live music at one of more than 180 venues around town.  

Tennessee is proudly home to the most visited National Park in the country. The Great Smoky Mountains welcomed more than 11 million visitors last year, nearly twice the number of visitors of the second most visited park. The park features a scenic highway that lets you take in the natural beauty with ease. Or, more adventurous visitors can enjoy the more than 800 miles of hiking paths and trails. Of particular interest to park visitors is Cades Cove — an area famous for wildlife viewing and well-preserved homesteads from the 1800s.

Horses in pasture in Tennessee

For recreation and fun, plan a visit to Dollywood — the theme park, water park and, resort made famous by Tennessee native and Dollywood namesake, Dolly Parton. The park welcomes more than 2 million visitors each year and features dining and award-winning entertainment.

From staples like fried chicken and biscuits and barbecue ribs to fare with a more modern flair, Tennessee’s food scene offers diners a range of options. Dine at Geist, a converted 118-year-old blacksmith shop in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood. Get swept away by the tropical influences at the Pearl Diver in East Nashville. Or grab a slice from Five Points Pizza in East or West Nashville.

RELATED: 16 travel nursing locations to try before you die

Consider Tennessee for your next travel assignment

Whether you’re interested in working at a nationally ranked institution or dedicating your skills to rural communities with high unmet medical need, Tennessee affords a wealth of opportunity for travel nurses.

Interested in learning more about travel nursing? Call us for more information at 800.866.0407 or view today’s job openings.

Article updated June 27, 2022

About the author

Allison Riley

Allison Riley is a public relations professional with more than 10 years experience in healthcare and corporate communications. She lives in New York City with her better half and two wonderful daughters. She and her girls are currently contending for world's slowest recorded stair climb to a fifth-floor apartment, and she enjoys writing so she can just finish her sentence already.


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