Travel nursing can take you to all kind of places, from small towns to big cities. When considering opportunities, it is important to be aware of the differences nurses may encounter in rural and city assignments. Here are a few things to consider before you sign on:
It may seem like a no-brainer, but consider: what kind of lifestyle are you accustomed to? You’ll want to consider how you will spend your time when you’re not working. Are you an outdoorsy person who likes to camp and hike? Or are you an urbanite that likes to take in arts and culture and go sightseeing? Consider how you’ll fit in your new locale. Do some research and find out what’s around. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, try to talk to another nurse who’s been there. That’s the beauty of travel nursing: you can put yourself in the place where you’ll best thrive—both in and out of the scrubs.
There can be differences in the amount of staff support in your place of employ—based on everything from administrative to cultural to socioeconomic factors. Be prepared for a different pace and emphasis. Are you accustomed to a certain workflow and amount of oversight? Staff in rural areas might be more expected to fulfill more than one role, floating various units in accordance with need. Nurses in urban areas may be expected to focus more tightly on a certain area of care. Also, assignments may differ in the kinds of injuries and illnesses you’ll be encountering on a regular basis. Depending on what you’re more comfortable with, you’ll want to factor all this in.
Because healthcare facilities in cities and rural areas often contrast, there may be times when it is advantageous to your professional growth to go outside your comfort zone. Don’t write off one or the other, particularly if you may need to take a different kind of assignment down the road. Rural facilities, as mentioned, may prefer a more “well-rounded” kind of professional, one who can transition smoothly between different kinds of care. Don’t be afraid to venture out and show that you can handle a variety of tasks.
Finally, remember that a rural or city assignment doesn’t guarantee a certain kind of experience. It’s best to do a little research beforehand to get an idea of what the assignment will be like. Talk to someone that has spent time in the area: they can save you a lot of headaches. Happy traveling!