I originally planned on working in California for about 3 months but ended up being there for almost 7 months. California is so large that it’s impossible to explore the entire state in a short period of time. Also, since the process of getting a California license is so lengthy, job opportunities are always plentiful.
After working in 3 different facilities while in California, I started to wonder if being in California was a curse? Each clinic I worked at was progressively better than the last. However, it was obvious that with the affordable care act, there was a significant increase in patients that needed care, and now had “access” to care. Unfortunately, the majority of community health centers in California are unable to keep up with the demand. Whether it is not having enough providers, enough work space/patient rooms, or enough assistive personnel.
Each facility I worked with in California had very low employee satisfaction rates. As my last assignment in California came to an end, I knew one thing – and that was that I needed to get out of California!
I found myself suddenly become homesick. I had only really been home for a mere 4 days this entire year. I decided to take a few weeks off to hang out at home and spend time with family and friends. As I thought about my next assignment, I knew I wanted to be back on the East Coast. I wanted to be somewhere that I could easily go home for the weekend if I wanted to.
Sadly, I was quickly informed that licenses I thought would only take 1-4 weeks to obtain, would take 2-3 months long. The reason is because now that I have a California license, the board of nursing in other states will want to verify that license. California is known to take several months to endorse a license. Unfortunately for us nurses, they also take several months to verify a license. I could not grasp how this made sense until I saw that California is not part of the nursys network, which usually provides quick online licensure verification.
Luckily I have other state licenses I can use while my new licenses come through. Hopefully they will only need to verify my original license in Florida and not all of my active licenses. I will be sure to keep you informed!
In conclusion, while RN’s that come to California have certainly hit the jackpot, I can easily say that California is not the best place to practice as a nurse practitioner. The pay rates are NOT higher than other states, but the cost of living is much higher, and the outpatient healthcare facilities like to operate as factories. RN’s in California often make as much as nurse practitioners, if not more. This is due to their highly organized unions and variable work settings/shifts. Overall, California is a lovely state and the stressful work environment was balanced out by the beautiful scenery and perfect weather. Do I recommend locum tenens work in California? Yes! Do I recommend permanent nurse practitioner work in California? Only if you manage to find a clinic that allows you to see 18 or less patients a day. Good luck!