5 Reasons to Try Travel Nursing in the Pacific Northwest
By Joseph Duffy, contributor
Looking for great work opportunities and gorgeous places to explore on your days off? Travel nursing in the Pacific Northwest should be high on your list. In fact, the states of Oregon and Washington are a perennial favorite for travel nurses, especially during the summer and fall.
And it’s not surprising. This majestic region offers some of America’s best natural sights, outdoor activities and progressive, trailblazing cities. What’s more, the Pacific Northwest is home to hundreds of open travel nursing jobs at any given time.
Why you’ll want to be a travel nurse in the Pacific Northwest
With its cultural diversity, pristine coastline and dense forests, four beautiful seasons and healthy economy, the Pacific Northwest has something for everyone. Here are five top reasons to be a travel nurse in the Pacific Northwest:
1. Outdoor lover’s paradise — Many travel nurses head to the Pacific Northwest region to explore its lush, natural beauty via hiking, biking, kayaking and more. At least a dozen must-see national parks pepper Washington State and Oregon. Just to mention a few, the Olympic National Park in Washington offers alpine peaks, coastal scenery, waterfalls and a temperate rain forest. Also in Washington, the San Juan Island National Historical Park is a fantastic destination to watch orcas and visit historical sites.
Perhaps the area’s most famous landmark is Mount Rainier, an active volcano located in Washington State. Plan a hiking trip in the Mount Rainer National Park, where you’ll see glaciers, old-growth forests and spectacular wildflowers. You can also visit Mount St. Helens, another volcano located in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington. There, you’ll find 200 miles of hiking trails, including easy-access pathways and overnight backpacking destinations.
Oregon’s terrain is just as spectacular. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Deschutes National Forest offer alpine lakes, scenic drives, more volcanos and outdoor activities. You can also choose from a number of hiking trails around Mount Hood, rated from easy to difficult.
2. World-famous cities — When you think of major metros in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Portland stand out as cultural icons.
Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, is famously quirky, drawing foodies and culture explorers from all over the world. The city is known for its thriving music and arts scene, parks, bicycle paths and eco-friendly ways. While on assignment, you’ll want to visit Washington Park, the Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo.
Surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, Seattle is home to thousands of acres of parkland. The Space Needle is perhaps its most famous landmark, but Pike Place Market is a must-see for shopping and watching the crowd-pleasing antics of the fish sellers.
Other adventure-filled towns include Cannon Beach and Bend in Oregon, and Gig Harbor and Long Beach in Washington State.
3. Plenty of Pacific Northwest travel nursing jobs — Travel nursing opportunities in the region are as plentiful as the copious activities available in this bucket-list area.
Travel nursing jobs in Washington: Washington State is home to many travel nursing jobs. Onward Healthcare currently has several positions available in the Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia areas, but you’ll also find opportunities in smaller towns and cities, such as Walla Walla, Centralia and Richland. The variety of jobs in Washington is excellent, including everything from ER and ICU to labor and delivery, medical–surgical and home health nursing jobs.
Travel nursing jobs in Oregon: The Portland area normally has the most travel nurse jobs in the state, but you may also find opportunities in Springfield, Salem and Medford. Like Washington, Oregon has a broad need for specialties, and you’ll find jobs in suburban and rural cities, such as Seaside, Oregon City, Clackamas and McMinnville.
4. Close to Canada — A fantastic benefit of living and working as a travel nurse in the Pacific Northwest is being close to our northern neighbor, Canada, and one of the world’s top-ranked cities: Vancouver. Seattle to Vancouver is less than a three-hour drive, while Portland to Vancouver (Canada) is only about five hours. The “other” Vancouver in Washington State is just across the river from Portland.
Vancouver, Canada, is part of the belt of progressive West Coast seaport cities that offer tremendous diversity and much to do. Surrounded by water and mountains, this Canadian gem of a city offers a thriving art, theater and music scene. Top attractions include Stanley Park, Granville Island and Grouse Mountain.
Note that exemptions for fully vaccinated American travelers who are eligible to enter Canada are expected in early July 2021, but travel restrictions due to COVID-19 currently apply.
5. Fabulous wineries and breweries — Did you know that Oregon and Washington are the second and third largest producers of wine in the United States? According to the Emerald Palate website, Washington has more than 1,000 wineries and 400 vineyards, while Oregon has 800 wineries and 1,100 vineyards. If you drove through the hills between Portland and Eugene, Oregon, you’d find more than 400 wineries to enjoy. Local wine experts there recommend the area’s Pinot Noir.
If beer is more your style, there’s no dearth of breweries in the Pacific Northwest. In 2018, the Seattle-Tacoma metro area led every major U.S. city with 174 breweries, while the Portland metro area was No. 4 with 133. No matter where you travel throughout the region, you’ll find plenty of great places to raise your glass.
READY to start making lifelong memories as a travel nurse in the Pacific Northwest? Just apply with Onward Healthcare, and our recruitment team will help get you on your way!