A Look at Nurses in Oklahoma

An aging population, not to mention increased longevity, is keeping the job outlook for nurses strong. Older patients have chronic health conditions that require continual nursing care, and sometimes patients can have more than one serious illness. Even though the number of patients needing medical care is rising, the number of job prospects available to registered nurses (RN) can depend on location.

Is Oklahoma a Good State for Nurses to Find Work?

Analysts ranked Oklahoma 36 in WalletHub’s study “2017’s Best and Worst States for Nurses.” They compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The top three states are Wisconsin, New Mexico and Iowa.

Oklahoma also is rated 48 for work environment, which is measured by mandatory overtime restrictions, the ratio of nurses to hospital beds, average number of work hours and commute time, plus the recognition of the nursing licensure compact law.

The good news is that Oklahoma placed seventh in the opportunity category against the other states. This means nurses can expect average starting and annual salaries that are adjusted to the cost of living. In addition, Oklahoma has sufficient healthcare facilities per capita and available job openings.

Is There a Shortage of Nurses in Oklahoma?

Like the rest of the country, Oklahoma is experiencing a region-specific nursing shortage. Nurses tend to shy away from working in rural areas and cluster in metropolitan areas. Moreover, the Oklahoma deficit in nurses mirrors the national dilemma. Many nurses in the workforce are reaching retirement age so there are not enough qualified employees to fill the vacancies or an adequate supply of nurse educators to prepare a new generation of nurses.

How Many RNs Are in Oklahoma?

The Kaiser Family Foundation places the number of professionally active nurses in Oklahoma at 40,083, as of April 2017. According to the 2015 Oklahoma Health Workforce Data Book, there are 84.02 nurses for every 10,000 residents.

What Is the Annual Salary for Oklahoma Nurses?

Nurses in Oklahoma earn an annual mean salary of $60,630, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2016. The annual median income for entry level RNs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma according to PayScale is $51,123 as of September 2017.

What Are the Most Popular Fields in Nursing?

Most nurses in Oklahoma find employment in hospitals, home health agencies, ambulatory care settings, long-term/extended care facilities and academic institutions.

The Nurse Journal article “15 Awesome Places to Work as a Hospital Nurse” lists two hospitals located in Oklahoma City — OU Medicine is ranked 12th and Oklahoma Heart Hospital is 15th.

What Are Some Facts About Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is known as the Sooner State. The nickname comes from the period in the state’s history when the Oklahoma Territory offered people a chance to claim a stake of land. The Sooners are the people who did not wait for the official start date. The territory became part of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Here are some other statistics about the state:

  • Population – 3.91 million
  • College-educated – 32 percent of population
  • Capital – Oklahoma City
  • Size – 69,899 square-mile area
  • Median income – $25,477

The cost of living in Oklahoma is favorable, salaries are fair and there are prestigious healthcare organizations. If you are a new nurse or someone who is thinking about moving, Oklahoma has many job openings, especially in underserved regions.

Learn about Northeastern State University’s online RN to BSN program.


NurseJournal: 15 Awesome Places to Work as a Hospital Nurse

U.S. News & World Report: Best States – Oklahoma

PayScale: Entry-Level Registered Nurse (RN) in Oklahoma City Salary

The Oklahoman: Many Oklahoma Professions Could Be Doing Better

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Department of Health: Oklahoma Health Workforce Data Book 2014-2015

WalletHub: 2017’s Best & Worst States for Nurses

Kaiser Family Foundation: Total Number of Professionally Active Nurses by State

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