Oregon tops list of best states for nurses

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With a supportive work environment and plenty of opportunity, Oregon took first in a 2014 ranking of the best and worst states for nursing.

Social network WalletHub.com considered 15 metrics, including starting salary, openings and hours worked.

Oregon, which has the most healthcare facilities per capita, got top marks for work environment and No. 2 for opportunity. Washington, South Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico rounded out the top five overall.

Southern states took eight of the 10 lowest overall rankings, with Mississippi coming in dead last. The “Hospitality State” ranked No. 47 for opportunity and No. 49 for environment.

Many states posted mixed results. Maine is expected to have the highest concentration of seniors by 2030 but offers the 47th-lowest annual salaries. 

In addition to good pay, nurses should seek to work with strong leaders, said University of Southern Maine's Susan Sepples, Ph.D., RN, who was part of a panel that weighed in on the rankings. Pay in Maine might be low, but long-term care openings are available and nurses will find a nurturing environment in the state, she added.