Between the explosion of the gig economy and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel nurses saw an uptick in demand since the concept was first introduced during the nursing shortage of the 1970s. That demand has leveled off somewhat in the past three years as the pandemic has wound down, but the freedom that comes with being able to choose assignments and working with a variety of different people more often still makes travel nursing an attractive career path.

Opting for a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, however, means making informed decisions not only about where the work is, but whether even a short-term assignment is viable due to cost of living. To that end, healthcare hiring marketplace Vivian Health has assembled the Travel Nurse Location Index, revealing where in the nation travel nurses can find the best work/life balance—and where striking that balance might be a bit more challenging.

The index rates each state a score out of 100 based on a range of criteria, including average weekly salary, job availability, number of hospitals, and cost of living estimates.

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Richard Binder

Richard Binder, based in New York, is part of the social media team at ALM. He is also a 2014 recipient of the ASPBE Award for Excellence in the Humorous/Fun Department.