Nurses play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry. However, not only are their skills and specialties in shortage currently in a number of cities across the United States, but the problem may worsen in coming years. As the baby boomer demographic begins to need more healthcare opportunities in conjunction with the current workforce of nurses approaching retirement age, the shortage of skilled nurses isn’t predicted to be resolved anytime soon, especially in certain areas.

For traveling nurses and other Allied Health professionals who are searching for an area where their specialty is in high demand, review our list of the seven cities where skilled healthcare professionals are needed the most.

1. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles skyline

Los Angeles is an area of California that has been suffering a nurse shortage for years. One of the main reasons behind this shortage is that the number of nursing instructors at universities and other institutions have been in decline. Traveling nurses and other healthcare professionals looking to spend some time in California should begin their job search in Los Angeles.

2. Denver, Colorado

Denver skyline

With an older generation of nurses preparing to enjoy retirement, Denver is another city that has been facing a nurse shortage. According to the Denver Business Journal, “a third of the state’s nurses are over the age of 55, and more than one in 10 is past the traditional retirement age of 65.” Not only is Denver faced with replacing nurses who have retired, but they will also need to prepare for the increasing patient count when the baby boomer demographic is in need of more healthcare opportunities. For traveling nurses who want to take an assignment in a city where there are endless recreational opportunities to enjoy on your days off, Denver is your city.

3. Seattle, Washington

Seattle skyline

Much like Los Angeles and Denver, Seattle is facing a nurse storage due to lack of advanced nurses and the upcoming retirement for a large number of nurses in the industry. According to a 2011 study done by the University of Washington School of Medicine, there are about 81,000 licensed registered nurses in the state of Washington. The demand for RNs will begin to exceed the number of available practicing nurses in 2015 due to the ever-increasing population and the impending retirement of the current nursing workforce. To assist in the efforts of training higher skilled nurses, Washington State University received a $300,000 grant last year from the Robert Wood Foundation in order to get the process underway. For traveling nurses or other Allied Health professionals that want to take an assignment in a booming seaport city, Seattle is the place for you.

4. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta skyline

If heading south is something you have always wanted to do in your career, consider taking an assignment in Atlanta. The City in a Forest has been hit hard by the nurse shortage and many hospitals in the Atlanta metro area are offering signing bonuses and relocation packages and are in need of many specialties. However, Atlanta may be a better fit for healthcare professionals who are looking to stay in the area long-term. Many of these hospitals that are offering bonuses require the individual to commit for at least two years.

5. Minneapolis, Minnesota


If working with geriatric patients is your specialty, Minneapolis would be an ideal location for you as a traveling nurse since many of the nursing homes in the greater Minnesota area are in need of help. One of the main reasons nursing homes in this area are facing a shortage of nurses in this specialty is due to the fact they have to compete with the nearby Mayo Clinic and the salaries they offer. According to MPR News, there is a bill being pushed forward that would “completely overhaul how nursing homes are reimbursed in Minnesota” and it would help alleviate some of the staffing challenges that nursing home officials are currently facing.

6. Houston, Texas

Houston skyline

The city of Houston is home to a number of renowned hospitals and medical facilities that offer many opportunities to current and incoming health professionals.The number of medical facilities and private practices that are being established, and the ever-growing demographic that will have insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act is why Houston is also in need of more help. If working in Texas as a traveling nurse is something you have wanted to do, now is the time to head south.

7. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago skyline

Chicago is another city that is facing a potential nurse shortage due to aging baby boomers and the upcoming retirement of the current workforce. According to a survey conducted in 2014 by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, one-third of all RNs ages 55 and older said they plan to retire within the next five years, which could potentially leave gaps in psychiatric care, teaching, and other nursing specialties. As a traveling nurse, Chicago would be a great place to take an assignment, especially if you are an instructor or your specialty is in psychiatric care. This area would also be a great fit if you are looking for a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions to enjoy during your time off.

These seven U.S. cities are just a few that have felt the repercussions of the nursing shortage. As a traveling nurse or Allied Health professional, you have a unique opportunity to contribute to these communities by doing what you love, helping those in need. Talk with your LRS recruiter today to learn where your skills are in high demand.

Learn more about available travel nursing jobs through LRS Healthcare today!