Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
November 6, 2022 - 6 min read

Travel Nursing in Oregon | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2022

By: Kathleen Gaines MSN, BA, RN, CBC

Oregon is ready for adventures! With 363 miles of Pacific coastline, Oregon has tide pools, hiking trails, sandy beaches, sleepy beach towns, and hundreds of lighthouses and it is begging for you to come work there.

The number one attraction in Oregon is Crater Lake National Park which lies in the Cascade Mountains and offers some of the best hiking trails in the country. Mount Hood National Forest is pristine and breathtaking. There are endless possibilities for outdoor adventures on your days off.

But even if you are not into the great outdoors, Oregon also is known for being home to more than 900 wineries producing almost 100 varieties of grapes, countless craft breweries, and some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country.

If you are ready for an adventure – Oregon might be the state for you.

Speak with a recruiter about available travel nursing assignments in Oregon!

How much do travel nurses make in Oregon?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses in Oregon work in one of the five highest-paying states for RNs. Nurses in Oregon earn $98,630 annually, or $47.42 an hour. The BLS does not differentiate between staff nurses and travel nurses, though the compensation for travel nurses is directly reflective of the ongoing need for nurses. Therefore, Oregon is one of the highest-paying states for travel nurses.

Indeed.com reports an average base salary of $2,481 per week with top locations in Grants Pass, Oregon City, Bend, Eugene, and Salem. Here’s how they break down.

Grants Pass, OR

  • Hourly Wage: $76.46
  • Weekly: $3,264/week
  • Monthly: $12,631/month

Oregon City, OR

  • Hourly Wage: $64.37
  • Weekly: $2,744/week
  • Monthly: $10,618/month

Bend, OR

  • Hourly Wage: $60.20
  • Weekly: $2,570/week
  • Monthly: $9,946/month

Eugene, OR

  • Hourly Wage: $54.77
  • Weekly: $2,338/week
  • Monthly: $9,048/month

Salem, OR

  • Hourly Wage: $60.07
  • Weekly: $2,565/week
  • Monthly: $9,924/month

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

Highest-paying nursing specialties in Oregon

The highest-paid travel nursing specialties depend on a variety of factors including location within the state, demand, and urgency of needs. The demand for travel nurses in Oregon has always been high because it is consistently one of the top-paying states for nurses.

As a result of the increased demand for nurses and the ongoing pandemic, wages that are being offered are steadily increasing. Unfortunately, this is not being seen across all disciplines of nursing. Medical surgical nurses, long-term care nurses and clinic nurses will see significantly lower rates than other specialties. Increased certifications, credentials, and skills will command higher pay.

Historically speaking, the top-paying travel nurse specialties are:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Labor & Delivery
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Operating Room (OR)
  • Post-anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Top 5 hospitals in Oregon

Oregon has 65 hospitals. Ten meet high U.S. News standards and as a result are ranked in the state. According to U.S. World News and Report, these hospitals were evaluated and ranked. The top five hospitals in Oregon as of 2022-2023 were:

Oregon has 65 hospitals. Ten meet high U.S. News standards and as a result are ranked in the state. According to U.S. World News and Report, these hospitals were evaluated and ranked. The top five hospitals in Oregon as of 2021-2022 were:

1. OHSU Hospital

  • Location: Portland
  • Nationally Ranked: 6 Specialties & 7 Children’s Specialties
  • High Performing: 4 Specialties & 15 Procedures/Conditions

2. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

  • Location: Portland
  • High Performing: 4 Specialties & 16 Procedures/Conditions

3. St. Charles Medical Center

  • Location: Bend
  • High Performing: 16 Procedures/Conditions

4. Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center (TIE)

  • Location: Clackamas
  • High Performing: 13 Procedures/Conditions

4. Salem Hospital (TIE)

  • Location: Salem
  • High Performing: 1 Specialty & 12 Procedures/Conditions

Cost of living for travel nurses in Oregon

As the national cost of living continues to rise, Oregon is also seeing a significant rise in their local cost of living. In fact, an ongoing issue for travel nurses is finding affordable housing during contracts. There have been many reports of travel nurses not being able to find housing until days before or even days after a contract starts.

Cost of living is defined as the amount of money needed to cover basic expenses such as food, taxes, healthcare, and housing. Despite all travel nurse companies providing a stipend for housing, at times it has shown to not be enough. Furthermore, depending on the location – hotels may not a viable long-term solution.

According to Bestplaces.net, the overall cost of living in Oregon rates 114.3. The number is well above 100 which means Oregon’s COL is higher than the U.S. average. The median house cost is $438,100 as compared to the median home cost in the U.S. of only $291,700.

Payscale.com reports on the cost of living in major Oregon cities including the median home price, median rent, and monthly energy bill.

Portland

  • National Average: 30% higher
  • Median Home Price: $688,025
  • Median Rent: $2,102 / month
  • Energy Bill: $154.07 / month

Oregon City

  • National Average: 21% higher
  • Median Home Price: $534,940
  • Median Rent: $1,634 / month
  • Energy Bill: $154.07 / month

Carlton

  • National Average: 16% higher
  • Median Home Price: $434,739
  • Median Rent: $1,328 / month
  • Energy Bill: $154.07 / month

Rainier

  • National Average: 9% higher
  • Median Home Price: $362,664
  • Median Rent: $1,108/ month
  • Energy Bill: $154.07 / month

Deer Island

  • National Average: 1% lower
  • Median Home Price: $162,493
  • Median Rent: $496.38/ month
  • Energy Bill: $154.07 / month

Pros & cons of travel nursing in Oregon

With any career, there are pros and cons to the job. Travel nursing is no exception. It’s important to take into consideration your own personal circumstances, family obligations, and reasons for wanting to be a travel nurse. Reasons that some nurses might see as a con may in fact be a positive for you.

Pros of Travel Nursing in Oregon

1. Increased earning potential – Travel nurses have the ability to earn significantly more money than staff nurses. Furthermore, they actually take home more after taxes due to reimbursements and incentives not being considered “taxable income.” Most travel nurses receive agency-provided housing or have a hefty monthly allowance to put toward housing expenses.

2. Travel! – One of the main reasons travel nurses start this adventure is to experience different cities and states they may not otherwise get to experience. It also is great for nurses that are not sure where they ultimately want to settle down.

3. Flexibility – You have the ability to take a contract when you want to and where you want. If you really want to travel to Oregon, you have the ability to find a contract that fits your needs. It is also easier to get a permanent staff position if there is a hospital that you eventually want to work at.

4. Networking – Most don’t consider this a huge pro of travel nursing but it is! With an increase in the number of nurses that go on for an advanced degree, making connections with different hospitals, providers, and nurses can be very important when trying to find preceptors for graduate-level clinical rotations.

5. Avoid hospital and unit politics – Most don’t like to admit it, but bedside nursing comes with drama and politics. It can be as simple as a hierarchy based on seniority or something more serious. Being a travel nurse allows you to avoid all of this by not being fully invested in the unit but rather helping out for a very specific amount of time.

Cons of Travel Nursing in Oregon

1. Always the new person – Being new to a unit can be exciting but can also be frustrating or even lonely. Not knowing anyone on the unit can affect the type of help you will get in your work environment.

2. Not the best assignments – Some hospitals will assign travel nurses patients just like any other nurse on the unit. Others will assign them the easiest patients, the hardest patients, or the ones that no one wants to deal with.

3. First to float to another unit – Despite being contracted to a specific unit, most travel nurses will have to float to other parts of the hospital within their skill set. This again will make you the new person which can affect how others perceive you as well as assist you throughout the shift

4. Finding a place to live – All travel nurse companies offer their nurses places to live during each contract. However, it is not always in the location that you want, has the amenities you desire, and/or fits your needs. Contracts will offer a housing stipend instead, which most travel nurses take, but then finding appropriate housing falls on you.

5. Changing health insurance policies – With each contract may come a new health insurance policy. This will be dependent on the agency that you work with. If you switch between multiple agencies then there will most likely be a lapse in your health insurance. However, nurses can opt for private insurance and pay out of pocket. That way, when the assignment ends, you won’t lose your insurance.

Why Oregon?

Oregon has something to offer both the novice and experienced nurse and everyone in between. There are endless things to do on your day off. Enjoy a beer downtown with friends, hike the outer rim of Crater Lake, or take in the breathtaking mountains at a local vineyard. Competitive salaries and gorgeous locations make this west coast state a prime location for travel nurses. Its proximately to California (one of the most requested states for travel nursing) entices those that want to experience all the west coast has to offer!

Speak with a recruiter about available travel nursing assignments in Oregon!

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