WalletHub: The best and worst states for nurses

Nurses in Wyoming have the highest salaries in the U.S., according to a new report. (Getty/monkeybusinessimages)

Nurses may want to head west if they want to make more money, according to a new analysis that looked at competition and work opportunities to determine the best and worst states for nurses. 

Nurses in Wyoming earn the highest salaries, while those working in Hawaii have the lowest, according to the latest report from WalletHub, a financial planning site.

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But that doesn't mean it's the best state to work as a nurse. The Cowboy State ranked 26th overall.  Number one on the list based on opportunity, competition and work environment: Wisconsin.

The report lists the top five states as:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. New Mexico
  3. Iowa
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado

And the five worst states were:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Hawaii
  3. New York
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama

These lists share some similarities with WalletHub’s earlier list of the best states for physicians, which had a top five that also included Wisconsin and Iowa and a bottom five that also included the District of Columbia and New York.

RELATED: WalletHub: The top states for physician pay

Each of the two major categories included additional metrics; for instance, “opportunity and competition” encompassed salary data, healthcare facilities per capita and nursing job openings, while “work environment” compiled information on overtime restrictions, quality of public hospitals, average work hours and average commute time. 

WalletHub also found:

  • The District of Columbia has the most job openings for nurses per capita, while New York has the fewest. The federal district had 17 times more nursing jobs available than last-place New York, according to the report.
  • Despite job availability, the District of Columbia’s overall scores in the report’s two major categories were very low: it ranked 51st for opportunity and 47th for work environment.
  • Nevada has the highest annual mean wage for registered nurses (adjusted for cost of living), $80,182, which is about 1.5 times higher than in Hawaii, registering the lowest at $53,112.

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