In such a demanding career as nursing, I’m sure you’ve wondered how the difficulties you face compare to others in the industry. John S. Kiernan’s recent article 2016’s Best and Worst States for Nurses on Wallethub.com just might have the answer. The study ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 indicators categorized as Competition and Opportunity or Work Environment to determine the states most favorable for nurses. Indicators ranged from standard concerns such as salary and job openings to less obvious factors such as commute time and share of best nursing homes. Each indicator was also weighted based on significance.
The study found Washington State followed by Illinois, Texas, Oregon and Iowa to be the best states for nurses, and South Carolina, Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, and finally the District of Columbia to be the worst. What is interesting is the geographic concentration of higher and lower ranked states. States in the West Coast, Great Lakes, and Northeast (with the exception of New York) regions all boast strong rankings. Conversely, the states in the Southeast region have the country’s lowest rankings.
The differences in indicator rankings are also interesting. The best and worst states concerning the Percentage of Population Aged 65 & Older by 2030 indicator, Florida and Utah, was two-times as much. The best and worst states concerning the Nursing Job Openings per Capita indicator, the District of Columbia and Mississippi, was seven-times as much. Clearly, location plays a strong role in how satisfied nurses are in their careers.
As a final note, I would like to provide some feedback with the study. While it is certainly very comprehensive in its range of indicators, weights, and rankings, I do feel several important indicators are missing. The study seems to completely ignore the influence of state nursing boards on nurses. The aggressiveness of nursing boards has an enormous effect on the freedom of nurses to practice and the fulfillment they receive from doing so. In future studies, I would love to see indicators concerning the number of nurses on probation, suspended and those who have revoked nursing licenses, and length of suspensions and probations. By considering the effect of nursing boards on the nursing industry, the study will draw a more complete and accurate picture of nursing discrepancies across the United States.
You fail to mention Unions as an indicator . Unions guarantee representation and protection, fight for and very often achieve better RN/Pt. Ratios, negotiate better salary/ benefit packages all of which are contributors toward higher satisfaction . I have been at delegate for New York Peofessional Nurses Union for over 20 years and can attest to it. I am a RN and have lived the life and walked the walk and speak from first hand experience . Empowerment comes with solidarity.
Laurie Romano says
I think a study which includes profiles of how boards of nursing influence the ability of nurses to practice from state to state would certainly be revealing.
Do you have a link to the original study?
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
Here is the link. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-nurses/4041/
so why not an answer to Edna’s response? we know the AMA speaks loudly and in solidarity with physicians. could it be that there is far more fragmentation in nurses union’s as they may also not support each other? and some unions are more supportive of unions family while others try to raid smaller unions into their own instead of organizing in non union hospitals and organizations?
i don’t believe that there is a strong singular voice for nurses to align with, that is where belonging to a union group allows the loud voice to be heard instead of a private lambasting of a nurse in the manager or administrators office
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
It is my understanding that only 10 states have unions for nurses and not all nurses in those states are in a union. I think it would take a separate study if nurses are happier with a union and where and what type of union. Interesting! Thanks for brining it up.