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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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August Nurse Spotlight: Erin!

Come one, come all! Meet KPG Healthcare’s newest Nurse Spotlight for August – Erin!

Erin is a Southern California native who is also a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Cardiac Intense Care Unit nurse. Erin has been a nurse for seven years and a travel nurse for three years! However, she’s putting travel nursing on hold because she recently got married last October! KPG Healthcare wants to wish you a BIG congratulations! 

Anyway.

Like many people, Erin originally didn’t plan to pursue nursing as a career. Her inspiration to become a nurse began when her nephew was placed in the NICU for three months at 28 weeks-years-old. 

At the time, Erin wanted to become a veterinarian, but going through that experience with her nephew, it gave her a new direction. By talking to the nurses who assisted with her nephew and her family, she realized there was an opportunity to pursue travel nursing as a career. She made every intention to become one. 

Today, Erin has been fortunate enough to take assignments in the Virgin Islands, Washington, Oregon, and California. “I’ve been fortunate enough to live my dream as a traveling nurse,” Erin said. Having graduated from the University of San Francisco, her first assignment at the University of California San Francisco hospital was her most memorable assignment. 

Working in the NICU is not for the faint-hearted. Managing the children but also figuring out how to assist the parents, who can’t help but feel helpless, is one of the biggest challenges Erin faces at work. Although the most challenging, “it is also the most rewarding,” Erin mentioned. 

Besides navigating through the emotional baggage that comes with NICU, “relationship building, nurturing the parents, reassuring them, and building those emotional connections” are just some other skills Erin has learned on the job. 

Another big thing Erin learned while being a travel nurse was self-care. “I didn’t prioritize that and travel taught me to take a step back.” Some of the ways Erin likes to unwind or indulge in a self-care day are taking baths, hitting the spa once every other month, hanging out with her core tribe, and be active during days off.

Erin wanted to give a shoutout to the compliance team for “being awesome” and to the whole team for always making her feel like a priority!

From all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for everything you do for us! Congratulations and we wish you nothing but happiness for you and your husband! 

Erin’s advice for new travel nurses:

  1. Exude confidence in everything you do
    1. Non-travel nurses and parents will give the same respect 
    2. How it will change the assignment
    3. Have a positive attitude
    4. You will get the respect you deserve in time
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July’s Nurse Spotlight: Kyle!
KPG Healthcare's Nurse Spotlight

Kyle is KPG Healthcare's Nurse Spotlight for the month of July!

Everyone, please say “Heyyyyy Kyle!” 

Kyle is a Southern California native who calls the South Bay home. He’s currently on assignment in the Pediatrics Operating Room department at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and seems to be enjoying his time since he’s extended multiple times! 

Coming from a Filipino background and having been raised in a Filipino household, pursuing a nursing career came as second nature. He jokingly mentioned that it was almost expected of him as a Filipino to pursue nursing, there was no other option. Kyle loves working at CHLA and enjoys what he does, but it comes with a heavy toll. 

Having to work in the PEDS OR department, Kyle is responsible for caring for sick children and their emotionally taxed families. “Sometimes those challenges don’t just come around once but for consecutive days,” Kyle said, “You have to learn to watch and take care of yourself and your mental health.” 

Being a nurse is no easy task, it can be a demanding job that requires you to stay on your feet for 10+ hours, you have to deal with difficult patients, families, and doctors, and you perform tasks that many can’t even do. Taking time to breathe, relax, have some self-care, and reconnect with yourself is important. 

Kyle overcomes the challenges he faces by checking in with himself. Debriefing with his coworkers, going out to dinner, or even having a drink can help reduce the level of stress a nurse can face. “You’re not alone feeling the emotional weight that the job brings,” Kyle said. One of the many ways Kyle likes to unwind after a shift or during his day off is exercising, being a socialite, and going out to eat (even though he is trying not to). 

Kyle loves KPG Healthcare and it’s predominately due to the recruiters. Kyle’s recruiter was – yet again – Tiko! However, another reason why Kyle loves working with KPG Healthcare was that the prior two companies he worked with for travel nursing weren’t up to par. KPG Healthcare is a small-medium sized company and Kyle had direct access to his recruiter for whatever, whenever. 

Kyle has been a travel nurse for some time now and his all-time favorite assignment was in San Francisco. Although the cost-of-living was so high he felt it wasn’t worth it for him in the long run. Additionally, being a dog dad and raising a Pug and a French Bulldog requires a lot of time and it can limit his ability to travel as freely. Dog vs travel, that’s a tough choice. 

If given the opportunity, Kyle would love to have an assignment in Bali. He has a desire to see what the healthcare system is like abroad, specifically Bali since the United States “apparently” has the best healthcare in the world. 

Kyle, from everyone here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for your continued support, love, and for being part of the KPG Family. Continue striving for success and we can’t see where your career takes you!

Advice for new nurses:

•    Traveling can be scary – you are not alone but it is rewarding when you can have that freedom to fly. You also make the best of friends when traveling. You also learn about resources quickly and how to utilize them. 

•    It can be expensive living in California, but the nurse ratio is well-balanced. 

•    Los Angeles is dense with people, so it can get very crowded. 

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