With today’s fast-changing economy and an increasingly mobile healthcare job marketplace, many clinicians will find themselves conducting a long-distance job search at some point. The ability to search for and obtain employment in other areas of the country can help keep clinicians nimble and prepared to reach their full career potential.

Amy Cassidy, ACNP-BC, MSN, RN, is a nurse practitioner (NP) at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she recently relocated from Tennessee.

“As soon as I knew I wanted to relocate to Arizona, I started looking for positions online,” Cassidy said. “I wrote out a list of things that were important to me and began an online job search based on those criteria.”

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For Cassidy, the most critical factor was, “location, location, location!” Cassidy first began her online search with terms related to the metro area she was most interested in and then narrowed it down companies that she was interested in, looking for online job postings at specific hospitals.

Cassidy also narrowed her search terms to include only those companies offering relocation assistance. “I ended up having my entire move paid for,” she said, “including a house-hunting trip out to Arizona to find a rental property. I even had a relocation bonus added to my pay check, so make sure to look into whether companies offer relocation bonuses.”

Nurses should also determine if their current license will be transferable to another state, and if not, research the additional steps that may need to be taken to ensure licensure in the new location, Cassidy recommended.

“I particularly communicated with the state board of nursing, since they process my RN and NP licenses,” she says. “A lot of licensing information is available online as well. Usually the state will have all the application and transfer information you need.”

If a clinician still has questions about the process, there should be an information telephone line available. Cassidy also advises that NPs check with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to determine if a state belongs to one of the 24 “compact states” that have licensing reciprocity.

Advice for physician assistants

Physician assistants looking to relocate need not worry about issues such as licensing reciprocity, as all PAs take the same national certification exam.

Christopher Clough, MSPA-C, DAAPM, BA-B, a PA that runs his own medical communications company, advises PAs to start the licensing process “well before you plan to start the job,” as licensure can take as long as four to 12 weeks depending upon the state.

Consult the American Academy of Physician Assistants website, which offers resource information and links to the licensing requirements in all 50 states as well as multiple U.S. territories, Clough recommended.

Michelle Hirschman, a primary care outreach administrator at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., and she has hired PAs from across the country to work at Rush. “As a recruiter, the key question to ask out-of-state candidates is what ties he or she has to the area,” she says. “We tend to find that providers that move to an area without any ties typically end up moving within three-to-five years after employment.”

When it comes to searching for out-of-state job opportunities, Hirschman recommends that PAs consult online provider job boards and consult with their local PA associations and PA training programs. “Visit area PA program websites to see if there is a job board or call the program directly to inquire,” she said.

With a little research and legwork, NPs and PAs can conduct successful cross-country job searches and advance their careers.

Jill Elaine Hughes is a freelance medical writer.