Bakersfield, CA is located an hour and half North of Los Angeles, and about 2 hours South of Fresno. Bakersfield is a very popular place for Traveling Nurses to work due to its nursing shortage, higher than average pay rates, and close proximity to the beach, mountains and the Los Angeles area.
The city of Bakersfield itself has a population of around 500,000 so there is no shortage of the everyday essentials. The most popular hospitals that hire Travel Nurses in Bakersfield are:
1. Dignity Health (Bakersfield Memorial)
2. San Joaquin Community Hospital
3. Bakersfield Heart Hospital
4. Mercy Southwest
5. Mercy Truxtun (Downtown)
6. Kern Medical Center (KMC)
Where to live
Housing in Bakersfield is a bit tricky. The best areas to live would be Southwest Bakersfield, but there are still pockets to avoid. The Stockdale Hwy and Gosford Rd corridor is a good area. You want to stay in this area or go West. The Northwest area of Bakersfield is probably a little further and is subject to traffic on Rosedale Hwy, but it's a decent area as well. The areas around KMC, Memorial and Mercy downtown simply have a higher crime rates (especially KMC and Memorial). Use caution when considering those areas as what you save rent, may compromise your safety.
A little bit of crime comes with the territory in Bakersfield. It is mostly safe, but you certainly need to be careful which part of town you live in. Even in the better parts of town you will have petty crime. Stolen bikes, car break ins and other property theft are a real possibility. Definitely avoid downtown and the East side of town.
The city itself has all the amenities that come along with a large city. The great thing about Bakersfield is the proximity in Central California to everything else. You are in the middle of the state and very accessible to exploring in any direction. West will take you to Central Coast and cities like San Luis Obispo, Pismo, Shell Beach. And going Southbound you can hit Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego (if you have enough time).
Basque food is popular. If you're not sure what Basque food is, check out this Smithsonian article. The best basque food restaurants in Bakersfield are:
1. Wool Growers
2. Noriega Hotel
3. Pyrenees Cafe
5. Benji's French Basque
6. Chalet Basque
Some of the best people I've ever met are from Bakersfield. Although the city has changed a lot, you'll most likely love the folks you work with! What it lacks in overall appeal, the wonderful people of Bakersfield will make up for it in spades.