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Best and worst states for nurses: Where does Georgia rank?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses is expected to grow at more than double the rate of the average occupation through 2026.

» RELATED: Georgia college among America's 10 best nursing schools in new ranking

But where are the best places to live for a successful nursing career? Researchers over at personal finance website WalletHub sought to answer the question by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions: opportunity/competition and work environment.

The two dimensions were evaluated using 21 relevant metrics, from monthly average starting salary, quality of nursing schools to mandatory overtime restrictions and more.

Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Oregon ranked best for nurses, followed by Minnesota, Washington, New Mexico and Maine.

Washington, D.C., New York and Hawaii ranked worst.

» RELATED: Top healthcare conferences for nurses in 2019

Georgia came in at No. 31 on the list—eighth for opportunity/competition and 47th for work environment.

Analysts also noted the state, home to one of America's 10 best nursing schools, has one of the lowest projections for percentage of nurses 65 and older by 2030.

Georgia’s dismal rank in work environment may be something employers want to make note of. Here are some of the factors that go into the environment rank: overtime restrictions, ratio of nurses to hospital beds, nurses job growth, quality of public hospital system, average number of work hours, friendliness toward working moms and regulatory requirement for nurse practitioners.

Source: WalletHub

Ultimately, "wherever you practice, you will be challenged, humbled and Incredibly rewarded," Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences nursing educator Janet Rico said in a statement to WalletHub, encouraging nurses to consider less traditional practice settings, like home care, day programs and long term care.

As for what the industry needs, she added, it all comes down to funding for education and incentives to work in underserved areas.

William "Bill" J. Duffy, an instructor at Loyola University's Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, also urges nurses to work on implementing balance and go for what they want, he told WalletHub.

Here are some questions he suggests nurses should ask their prospective employers:

  • Do they have a tuition forgiveness program?
  • Do they have a tuition reimbursement program for advanced degrees?
  • Does the organization support flexible work schedules to support school requirements?
  • How many nurses have been promoted from within?
  • Does the organization support the use of advanced practice nurses?

Explore more at WalletHub.com.

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