Nursing Jobs, Cost of Living, & Where to Live Your Best Life | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 178

On October 1st, 2018, I published a blog post entitled “Nursing Jobs, Cost of Living, & Where to Hang Your Hat“. This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is a deep dive into the forces that impact where nurses live, the work they do, and how they can make the best choices in order to live their best possible life.

Here are some excerpts from that original blog post, all of which are touched upon in this episode of the show:

In my work as a career coach for nurses and healthcare professionals, I frequently witness those who work in nursing struggling with decisions related to finding work and the relative cost of living in terms of where they live or where they might move.

Making decisions about your workstyle and lifestyle can be fraught with anxiety and concern about the future — let’s unpack that conundrum.

Here in the United States, there is a wide diversity of choices related to climate, safety, way of life, economics, diversity, educational opportunities, housing costs, crime, and culture. And we all know that one person’s paradise can be another’s purgatory.

Where to Live

Money Magazine and crunched the numbers for 2018, creating a list of the 50 best places to live in the United States. The communities were examined using a methodology that looked at areas with populations over 50,000; the rankings were compiled based on the examination of over 70 types of data, including those mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Somewhat surprisingly (or not), the 50 winners aren’t all household names like San Francisco, Boulder, or Dallas. Here are the top 10:

  1. Frisco, Texas
  2. Ashburn, Virginia
  3. Carmel, Indiana
  4. Ellicott City, Maryland
  5. Cary, North Carolina
  6. Franklin, Tennessee
  7. Dublin, California
  8. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
  9. Sammamish, Washington
  10. Woodbury, Minnesota

Anyway, here’s Money Magazine’s list of the best places to live in each state.

What Kind of Nursing to Do

When considering relocation and where to settle down, other tools also come in handy. U.S. News & World Report’s “The 25 Best Jobs of 2018” can help us to piece the puzzle together. While software developer clinched the #1 spot for 2018, rest assured that healthcare jobs dominate the list, with the following health-related careers making appearances:

#2: Dentist
#3: Physician Assistant
#4: Nurse Practitioner
#5: Orthodontist
#7: Pediatrician
#8: A tie between Obstetrician/Gynecologist; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon; & Physician
#11: Occupational Therapist
#12: Physical Therapist
#13: A tie between Anesthesiologist & Surgeon
#15: Psychiatrist
#16: Prosthodontist
#17: Dental Hygienist
#18: Registered Nurse
#20: Physical Therapy Assistant
#21: Respiratory Therapist
#22: Nurse Anesthetist
#23: Optometrist

If you’re wondering about the difference between NPs, nurse anesthetists, and RNs, look no further:

Nurse Anesthetist
Median salary: $160,270
Unemployment rate: 2.7 percent

Nurse Practitioner
Median salary: $100,910
Unemployment rate: 0.7 percent

Registered Nurse
Median salary: $68,450
Unemployment rate: 1.2 percent

The 25 Best Nursing Jobs

According to an article posted on, nursing jobs of course have their own hierarchy of popularity and career mojo. Unfortunately, no methodology is shared, thus we’re left in the dark as to how they arrived at these conclusions. While the only hard statistics we’re given are median salaries, the list includes:

  1. Ambulatory Care Nurse
  2. Camp Nurse
  3. Case Management Nurse
  4. Correctional Nurse
  5. Flight Nurse
  6. Forensic Nurse
  7. Home Health Nurse
  8. Hospice Nurse
  9. Informatics Nurse
  10. IV Therapy Nurse
  11. International Nurse
  12. Long-Term Care Nurse
  13. Medical Supplies or Pharmaceutical Rep
  14. Nurse Advocate
  15. Nurse Educator
  16. Nurse Manager
  17. Nurse Researcher
  18. Psychiatric Nurse
  19. Public Health Nurse
  20. School Nurse
  21. Substance Abuse Nurse
  22. Telephone Triage Nurse
  23. Transplant Nurse
  24. Travel Nurse
  25. Wound, Ostomy, & Continence Nurse

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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.

From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast.

As of May of 2018, Keith is the host of Mastering Nursing, an interview-style podcast showcasing inspiring, forward-thinking nurse thought leaders and innovators.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at

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