There are several factors that contribute to life satisfaction, and where you live is certainly one of them. Where you live may dictate aspects of your job in healthcare, or the details of your job may be relatively independent of your location. Either way, if you are interested in relocating for professional or non-professional reasons but want to ensure that a move does not adversely affect your career or your personal life, here are some things to consider:
- What is the job market in your target location? If you are considering a move for personal reasons, such as to be near family or to be in a desirable town, it is important that you think about how the market for your healthcare role varies based on geography. Depending on your specific role, moving from an urban to a rural area may provide you with more or fewer opportunities than you have had in the past. Similarly, a move to a large city from a smaller town may provide more options, or it may mean you are entering a saturated market. Getting a sense of the differences in the job market in your current and your desired location can help you not only determine how easy it will be for you to find a new job but also how your salary may be impacted.
- What is the cost of living? Once you have an idea about your potential for employment and your earning ability in a new location, you should consider how the cost of living will change if you are to move. Ideally, if your cost of living will increase, so too will your salary. If your change in income does not account for your change in living costs, you should consider if and how you are willing to change your lifestyle and if a move is worth that change.
- Do you need a new license? For healthcare providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, state licensing is required. Moving from one state to another therefore means you must apply for a new license, pay certain fees, and wait for your application to be processed. The time for processing varies by state, as may the requirements themselves. Understanding what exactly it takes to ensure that you can practice once you move can reduce the stress of relocation. It is unlikely that obtaining a new license for a job you have already been performing should be difficult enough to prevent a move, but it should certainly be taken into account as you plan your relocation and when to leave your current job.
- How will a move affect your family? Are you considering moving to be closer to family? Do you have your own spouse or children? If you are moving a family with you, what does the new location have to offer, and what may you be giving up? Culture, schools, and contacts are all things to think about as you navigate the ways in which a move will personally affect you and your family. Even with a better economic picture and a job you enjoy more, an unhappy family can significantly reduce your satisfaction as well.
Takeaway: Relocating can be exciting for both your personal life and your career. However, making the decision to move and doing what it takes to execute a move can be highly stressful. Putting in the time upfront to increase your confidence that a move is the right decision will help to reduce both short-term and long-term anxiety related to that move. Learning the healthcare landscape in your target location is the first step to understanding how the move will impact your career and income.