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Considering a move to California?
Looking to move to California as a Travel nurse? KPG Healthcare has got some inside tips on some of the regions of California!

Let KPG Healthcare help you decide which region of California you should move to!

Aka the Golden State?

Are you considering a move to one of the many great cities in California? Let KPG Healthcare be the first to say, “Welcome!”

We are so glad you are thinking about moving to California, or if you’re already in the state and just relocating, that’s also great! Regardless of where you end up, we know you’re going to love the Golden State.

The real question is, where are you thinking of? San Francisco? Los Angeles? Ventura? Oakland? Sacramento? San Diego?

Don’t worry, KPG Healthcare is here to provide you with some insight into some of the great regions that make up California.

California

Aka, “The Golden State,” is the third-largest state in the United States with about 40 million people. The state is so large that one in eight people in the U.S. lives in California. Wild right?

There are about five major cities – San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento. San Diego and Los Angeles fall in the south, also known as “SoCal.” San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento are located more north in “NorCal.”

California is so large that it stretches over 900 miles along the Pacific Coast. There was a bill to split the state into four individual states, it’s THAT large.

With that being said, we are going to provide some insight for each region – Northern California (NorCal), Southern California (SoCal), and Central California.

View of the San Francisco skyline, right, with the Bay Bridge, left, from Alcatraz Island.

Northern California

Northern California, otherwise known as “NorCal,” is largely associated with The San Francisco Bay Area, also known as “The Bay Area.” Cities like San Jose, Oakland, and Berkeley fall within the region. The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s biggest technology companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Tesla.

The weather in NorCal will vary, depending on where you go. For example, San Francisco experiences fog almost year-round due to their geographic location. Whereas San Jose, which is about 40 miles south of San Francisco, can reach temperatures up to 100F in the summer due to their geographic location/features.

Regardless, the weather in NorCal is great for people who like to experience the cold (50-60F in SF) with the option of warming up driving a little south.

California offers some of the best and diverse food in the world. It is a gateway to Asia with a heavy influence of Latin American cultures, more specifically Mexican culture.

San Francisco’s food scene is some of the best in the world, but you can always find your faithful local taqueria. There’s nostalgic like The House of Prime Rib to the new like Hop on Bart to Oakland and the food scene changes; always groundbreaking and forever delicious. From nostalgic San Francisco foods to up and coming in Oakland, vegan ice cream to Michelin star restaurants, you’ll find something to love.

Natural beauty fills the state from the towering redwoods in The Redwood National Forest to El Capitan in Yosemite, the glorious Pacific Coast Highway to not-so-glorious I-5 Golden State Highway.

In NorCal, you can find the John Muir Woods, Marin Headlands, Lake Tahoe, Mount Diablo, Mission Peaks, and so many other great outdoor activities. You can also kayak in the bay to catch some home runs at Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park). All within a reasonable distance!

In conclusion,

South Bay of Los Angeles County

Southern California

Otherwise known as “SoCal,” is typically what people might imagine what California to be – sunshine, fame, Hollywood, glam, and surfing. You’re not wrong, but that mainly pertains to SoCal and not NorCal. SoCal contains the Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Inland Empire, and then you’ve got Palms Springs and the desert.

The weather in SoCal is typically warm, however, you will experience a drop in temperatures during the winter months and during the evenings, especially more inland. But there’s a reason why people decide to move to LA, the weather. The love of being outdoors and in the sun is almost a must while living in SoCal. Just make sure to wear sunscreen!

California is rooted in Mexican history and culture. However, there are so many cultures that make up the California population and it has transformed the way food is perceived, accepted and intertwined with society.

Los Angeles is a huge port for trade and tourism, mix that with the proximity to the US-Mexico border, you get a melting pot of magnificent cultures, beautiful traditions and an abundance of diverse delicious food. The Mexican food scene in LA and SD is insane. Secretly, it’s something Californians like to compare when they travel to other states.

The difference between NorCal and SoCal, in terms of natural beauty, is that if you live in Los Angeles, you are “one hour from the beach and two hours from the snow.” You have access to Big Bear Lake, which is about two-three hours from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park, Angeles National Forest, as well as a handful of state parks.

Additionally, there is an abundance of great beaches stretching from Ventura County down to the US-Mexico border.

Yosemite Valley

Central California

For most people, they know it as the place you drive through when you’re on the I-5, but there are hidden gems within Central California. While it’s not compared to Nor/SoCal, you can’t knock it until you’ve been!

Central California is where a handful of agriculture is grown for the entire US, from almonds to nectarines, peaches to grains. When you’re on the I-5 passing through Central California you will an abundance of fruit stands fresh from the fields and it’s worth a try! If that’s not your vibe, pull off to one of many pit stops like the famous Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn.

The weather in Central California is typically dry and hot, but temperatures can drop during the evening times due it being in a valley. Expect the weather to be constant throughout the year. Notably, Yosemite Valley is a Central California staple known worldwide for its spectacular waterfalls, hiking, and natural beauty. The weather here will reflect the changes in the seasons.

The known counties within Central California are Fresno, Merced and Monterey. Merced is an upcoming town with the University of California, Merced being a huge addition to the town. Fresno during the spring when the almond tree blossoms are in bloom is an Instagrammers dream. There are hidden gems in Central California, but you have to be willing to explore and find them!

The food scene in Central California is not what you would expect from the surrounding regions of California. The one thing that you can count on is the amount of fresh produce there is to offer in certain parts of the region. Don’t hold your breath for fresh fish.

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Overall, California is a great place to be. There is a place for everyone in California due to the wide variety of things to see, eat and do! Even if you want to explore the rest of California you have the option of cheap flights (when booking appropriately and during sales)!

California might take some adjusting to because neither NorCal, SoCal or Central California are the same. The vibes are the same in some aspects but also very different…but I will let you uncover it for yourself! Happy exploring!

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Nursing Spotlight: Le Kea!

Meet Le Kea!

Favorite Travel Assignment: None, yet! However, Palm Springs was good to her and up there on the list.
Dream location: Somewhere near or around the Dallas Cowboys!

Le Kea hails from Trussville, Alabama but is currently en route to her new assignment in Stockton, California! She has been with KPG Healthcare since January and has been living the California dream during that time. Le Kea has been a nurse for over 20 years now but only started traveling back in 2005/6. Her inspiration for becoming a nurse are rooted deeply with her past experiences with close family and friends who have gone through a medical complication or procedure. After observing the nurses handle the various situations, the treatment of patients, the treatment of family, and how personal they could be to help ease the mind, Le Kea felt inspired to pursue nursing as a career. It also doesn’t hurt that her mother was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), who had a profound influence on why she became interested in this field.

As a nurse, Le Kea faces many challenges that echo the intense need for nurses in California. From demanding schedules to time away from friends and family; the number of supplies per patient to the patients and their demands. For example, a patient can come into the hospital with one illness and all of a sudden they can have a multitude of complications, which can get out of hand. Life as a nurse has its challenges, but like all challenges, they can be overcome! With great determination and a reasonable consciousness, Le Kea has proven to come out on top and provide the best service she can possibly give to her patient and their family. Another challenge she mentioned was the difference between travel nursing now than what it was when she first started. In previous years, the hospitals/companies you would contract with would arrange everything for you – from flights to transportation, housing to greeting you at the airport – she reminisces’ on a time where travel nursing was simple and easy.

During her time at KPG Healthcare, Le Kea has been paired with one of our recruiters named Omar, who has been going above and beyond for her in ways she can’t even thank him enough for. It wasn’t just Omar who she praised, but everyone who has been in contact with her. Whenever she had a question, KPG would be there with the quickness to help resolve any issues or clarification that may be needed. Le Kea staying with KPG Healthcare goes beyond the staff but to all the positive energy and attitudes that really make KPG Healthcare a great company to work with.

 

Le Kea’s Advice for New Travel Nurses:
1. Take time to study your craft. Learn and know what you’re doing. Having enough tools in your tool belt will help you be the best nurse you can be and provide the best service you can provide.
2. Have a great support system. Someone who can take care of your needs at home and someone who you can call when you’re lonely or not your usual self – a ride or die.
3. Make sure you have cash or card at your disposal. Important when traveling somewhere new! Notify your bank!
4. Have a strong sense of who you are. You will be thrown into different situations that will test your morals and values, having that sense of self will help guide you through those decisions and in your career.

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Prepare For a 12 Hour Work Shift

As if nurses aren’t already superheroes because of what they do, they definitely are because of how long they do it for. Most adults only work 8 hours a day, but most nurses work 12. Preparing for 12 hour shifts as a registered nurse is easier when you plan ahead and make smart choices throughout the day. Here are some tips to help make your shift better!

Pack Your Food & Eat Right

When you’re struggling through a long day, you might want to reward yourself with a sugary snack from the vending machine or a greasy burger from the cafeteria. These momentary pleasures ultimately lower your energy level and spell disaster for your day. If you want to know how to survive a 12-hour shift, the first thing you should address is your diet.

You should pack healthy meals to eat during your shift so you’re not tempted to indulge in unhealthy options. Include several small snacks as well. Package these conveniently so you can grab a bag of nuts and an apple, or a banana and peanut butter even when you don’t have much time to spare. You should focus on high-energy snacks and whole foods that will keep you going instead of drag you down.

Get Ample Rest

It’s important to get a full night’s sleep before a long shift. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or caffeine at night before bed so that you can enjoy a restful evening. If you have a break of 20 minutes or more during work, consider taking a quick nap. Data from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reveals that a 20-minute nap during a 10 hour shift can improve performance by 50 percent.

Use Your Breaks Wisely

A lengthy shift can put you under a lot of mental strain. You should make the most of all breaks allowed by employee scheduling. You can find a quiet spot to meditate and clear your mind, listen to a relaxing track of nature sounds on your phone or MP3 player, or read something you enjoy. You should avoid stressful activities, like watching crime drama snippets or reading intense thrillers, where you’ll have to stop in the middle of the action to return to work.

Wear compression socks

That’s right, compression socks aren’t just for your post-operative patients. Being on your feet for long periods of time puts you at a high risk for varicose veins, and wearing compression socks can help reduce that risk. Compression socks can also help reduce fatigue by improving blood flow and reducing lactic acid build up. If you find that your calves are sore and your ankles are swollen after working, you may want to try slipping on a pair of compression socks before your next shift. Your legs will thank you later!

Take Smart Supplements

The right supplements can make a big difference in how well you can handle a long shift. Low vitamin D levels can lead to fatigue. You can get vitamin D from salmon, tuna or fortified food products, but a supplement might be more effective if your levels are low. Vitamin B can decrease fatigue as well. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to brain cell development and can help you stay on top of your game. A well-rounded multivitamin is always a smart choice. Speak to your doctor about the best supplements for your needs.

Surviving 12-hour shifts might be difficult, but you can make these long days easier on yourself by preparing for the challenge. Packing healthy foods, getting enough rest, partaking in relaxing entertainment for your breaks and taking a few smart supplements can make the shift go smoothly.

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