Erin Glenn BSN, RN, CCRN
Erin Glenn BSN, RN, CCRN
September 8, 2023 - 8 min read

Travel Nursing in Oklahoma | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2023

Travel Nursing in Oklahoma

Oklahoma might not immediately come to mind when considering your next travel nurse contract, but it holds a wealth of experiences waiting for you to discover. This midwestern state welcomes adventurous souls with an abundance of culture and exploration. From its rich historical tapestry to a diverse range of outdoor activities, scenic drives, and a vibrant array of festivals, Oklahoma presents an enticing opportunity for your next travel nurse assignment.

You will be able to unearth historical wonders at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural tapestry of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and partake in the festivities that celebrate its rich heritage. Or you may prefer to find serenity amid the breathtaking landscapes of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. 

Moreover, Oklahoma’s evolving culinary scene complements its offerings with a trove of flavors waiting to be savored. While contract rates may not compete with some higher-paying destinations, the state’s remarkably affordable lifestyle enhances the value of your earnings. 

Looking for open travel nurse assignments? Speak with a recruiter today!

How Much do Travel Nurses Make in Oklahoma?

Registered nurses (RNs) in Oklahoma earn an average of $76,920 annually, which is lower than the national average of $89,010, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. This places Oklahoma in the 25th percentile for RN pay.

According to the BLS data, there is no distinction made between the salaries of travel RNs and staff RNs. However, travel nurses choosing Oklahoma as their work destination can expect to make around $2,029 weekly, which amounts to an annual income of $110,887. In contrast, the national average for travel nurses is $119,618.

It’s vital to emphasize that these figures represent averages. Should you be in pursuit of higher compensation, exploring the highest-paying travel nurse positions is a strategic move. But look no further, here are the top-paying cities for travel nurses in Oklahoma:

Highest-Paying Cities in Oklahoma

  • Muskogee
    • Annual: $126,991
    • Monthly: $8,991
    • Weekly: $2,324
    • Hourly: $54.42
  • Tahlequah
    • Annual: $124,563
    • Monthly: $8,819
    • Weekly: $2,279
    • Hourly: $53.38
  • Edmond
    • Annual: $115,937
    • Monthly: $8,209
    • Weekly: $2,121
    • Hourly: $49.69
  • Oklahoma City
    • Annual: $113,675
    • Monthly: $8,048
    • Weekly: $2,080
    • Hourly: $48.72
  • Tulsa
    • Annual: $113,197
    • Monthly: $8,015
    • Weekly: $2,071
    • Hourly: $48.51

Find available, high-paying travel nurse opportunities.

Highest Paying Specialties in Oklahoma

Navigating the highest-paid nursing specialties for travel nurses venturing to Oklahoma boils down to supply and demand, an ever-evolving landscape. In general, the top-earning travel nursing roles encompass:

  • Labor and Delivery (L&D) RN
  • Perioperative (OR, PACU) RN
  • Intensive Care (ICU) RN
  • Progressive Care (PCU) RN
  • Medical-Surgical (MS) RN
  • Emergency Room (ER/ED) RN

As of August 2023, the most lucrative travel nurse positions available in Oklahoma are as follows:

  • Interventional Radiology: $2,839 – $3,160 per week
  • Operating Room: $2,500 – $2,887 per week
  • Medical Surgical RN: $1,665 – $2,597 per week
  • Intensive Care RN: $1,666 – $3,344 per week
  • Rehabilitation RN: $2,560 per week
  • Infusion Therapy: $2,268 per week
  • Home Health RN: $1,713 – $2,208 per week
  • PACU RN: $1,842 – $2,113 per week
  • ER RN: $1,810 – $2,052 per week
  • PCU RN: $1,763 per week

To compile this pay data for travel nursing positions in Oklahoma, we’ve delved into various sources, including — Simply Hired, Indeed, multiple travel nursing agencies, and Google search results.

Top 5 Hospitals in Oklahoma

While major urban centers like New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and Boston, MA, often pave the way in healthcare innovation and progress, Oklahoma’s hospitals are on a distinct journey to establish a significant presence among the nation’s foremost healthcare institutions.

Among the hospitals in Oklahoma evaluated by U.S. News and World Report, two have met the stringent criteria to earn regional rankings: St. Francis Hospital of Tulsa secured the top position, closely followed by Hillcrest Medical Center. Despite their commendable achievements, neither hospital has garnered a national ranking.

1. St. Francis Hospital

  • Location: Tulsa
  • High Performing: 12 Procedures/Conditions
    • Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma
    • Colon Cancer Surgery 
    • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
    • Heart Attack
    • Heart Failure 
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney Failure
    • Stroke 
    • Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy)
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Hip Replacement
    • Knee Replacement 

2. Hillcrest Medical Center

  • Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • High Performing: 7 Procedures/Conditions
    • Heart Bypass Surgery
    • Heart Attack
    • Heart Failure
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney Failure
    • Stroke
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Although only two hospitals in Oklahoma were ranked by U.S. World and News, the state has over 160 hospitals and healthcare facilities. The absence of a national or regional ranking or high performance in specific procedures or conditions does not necessarily mean poor working environments. Instead, it indicates a need for improved quality healthcare, especially in rural areas. Travel nurses with exceptional experience are best suited to bridge this gap. 

Cost of Living for Travel Nurses in Oklahoma

While initial pay rates for travel nurses in Oklahoma may not immediately dazzle compared to other regions, the state’s affordability offers a distinct advantage. Oklahoma’s cost-effective living standards ensure that your take-home pay as a travel nurse can compete with, if not surpass, contracts in high-cost areas such as New York or California.

In the 2021 report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Oklahoma ranks as the second most affordable state, with an annual average of $38,650 spent on personal consumption expenditures. 

Housing Costs in Oklahoma:

In Oklahoma, the median rent is $1,393 per month, which is $708 lower than the national average. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, consider studio apartments ranging from $550 to $875.  For those traveling with their family in tow, the median rent for a 3-bedroom home is $1,500

Essential Costs — Food, Transportation, and Utilities:

Regarding necessary expenses, Oklahomans spend around $230 monthly on food, and monthly utility costs are approximately $397. Additionally, gas prices in the state are around $3.576 per gallon, coming in 28 cents below the national average.

Oklahoma offers an attractive solution for short-term living, whether you’re based in urban centers like Oklahoma City or nestled in rural landscapes. For travel nurses seeking cost-effective lodging options during their assignments, Oklahoma presents a compelling choice. Notably, Oklahoma City boasts the second-lowest cost of living across the state, surpassed only by Muskogee. As a travel nurse, this affordability directly contributes to your earning potential.

Although stipends and pay rates might initially seem less competitive than those in states like California or New York, the real advantage lies in reducing essential expenses such as fuel, groceries, housing, and leisure activities. This results in a substantial portion of your earnings remaining accessible instead of being absorbed by daily necessities.

Pros & Cons of Travel Nursing in Oklahoma

Pros of Travel Nursing in Oklahoma:

  1. Cost-effective living and enhanced earnings – Oklahoma’s low cost of living allows travel nurses to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank on the basics.
  1. Inclusive community – With a culture of warmth and open arms, this community nurtures strong bonds and a profound sense of belonging. Unlike larger cities where many prefer isolation, this haven of inclusivity thrives. The moniker of Oklahoma City, “The Big Friendly,” wasn’t earned by accident – it embodies the essence of this place. You’ll seamlessly become part of this embracing environment as a travel nurse.
  1. Vast landscapes and outdoor excursions – Oklahoma’s diverse landscapes, including rolling hills, serene lakes, and expansive prairies, offer a plethora of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery for nature enthusiasts to enjoy. Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, scenic drives, or simply soaking in the natural beauty, Oklahoma has it all.
  1. Cultural fusion and historical enrichment – As a travel nurse, you’ll have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Oklahoma’s captivating blend of Native American, Western, and Southern cultures. This enriching experience goes beyond surface-level exploration, allowing you to engage with local traditions, festivals, and cuisine that provide insights into the state’s historical heritage and Westward Expansion contributions. 
  1. Vibrant arts scene – The state hosts a thriving arts community with museums, galleries, theaters, and cultural events.

Cons of Travel Nursing in Oklahoma:

  1. Healthcare facility variability – When choosing to work as a travel nurse in Oklahoma, it’s important to be ready for fluctuations in the quality of care at different healthcare facilities. Adapting effectively is key to ensuring consistent delivery of exceptional patient care.
  1. Temporary housing uncertainty – Securing suitable temporary housing for travel nurses might be less predictable in more rural areas of Oklahoma. Limited availability or varying options could demand careful planning and proactive arrangements to ensure comfortable living arrangements during your assignment.
  1. Weather  – Oklahoma witnesses a distinct tornado season from early spring to late summer, characterized by severe weather patterns and intense storms. Planning ahead and understanding these seasonal shifts can mitigate concerns or allow you to avoid this season altogether.
  1. Cultural adjustment – Navigating the process of embracing the local culture can introduce social and lifestyle adjustments for travel nurses, especially when it diverges significantly from your background. While these differences may present initial challenges, they also pave the way for personal growth and enriching experiences.
  1. Limited Public Transportation – In Oklahoma, the public transportation system might not match the level of advancement in other states. As a travel nurse, having an independent means of transportation becomes crucial for maintaining smooth mobility throughout your experience. 

Things To Do on Your Days Off

While it might not be the top-of-mind destination for leisurely pursuits, Oklahoma is an undiscovered gem ripe for exploration during your downtime. With a rich history and stunning state and national parks like Robbers Cave State Park and Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma offers endless opportunities for nurses seeking relaxation or adventure.

For those drawn to city life, Tulsa and Oklahoma City offer urban environments with cultural attractions, dining options, local arts scene, live performances, and historic landmarks. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a more tranquil experience, rural and quaint towns like the historic Guthrie and the charming Medicine Park dot the landscape, each with its unique charm and character.

Nature lovers have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. You can experience the breathtaking beauty of Osage Hills State Park or relax by the peaceful lakes of state parks, such as Beavers Bend. If you’re a hiker, you can explore the scenic trails at Roman Nose State Park or choose the winding paths of the Ouachita National Forest and Tallgrass Prairie Preserve to immerse yourself in nature’s magnificence.

Perhaps you’re inclined to satisfy your historical curiosity by visiting the Cherokee Heritage Center or the Oklahoma History Center, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s captivating past. Oklahoma’s cultural tapestry comes alive through dynamic fairs and festivals, such as the Tulsa International Mayfest, the vibrant Oklahoma State Fair, and the culturally rich Cherokee National Holiday Festival. And don’t miss the chance to treat your taste buds at local eateries that offer a blend of flavors from diverse cultures, featuring barbecue, green chile, and traditional Native American cuisine. 

Whether you’re drawn to the energy of city life or the tranquility of nature, Oklahoma presents an array of experiences to enhance your days off.

Why Oklahoma?

Oklahoma offers a unique blend of culture, adventure, and opportunity, with rich historical heritage and diverse landscapes waiting to be explored by travel nurses. As you embark on your travel nursing journey in Oklahoma, you’re not just entering a new destination but a canvas of possibilities waiting to be painted with memories. Whether you find solace in the tranquility of its natural wonders or immerse yourself in the heart of its vibrant cities, Oklahoma offers an enriching adventure that promises to leave an unforgettable mark on your nursing career and life. 

So, why Oklahoma? Because it’s not just a place on the map—it’s a journey of discovery, growth, and moments that will resonate with you long after your next travel nurse contract ends.

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