People become healthcare travelers for a variety of reasons. Some people love the opportunity to work in different facilities every 13 weeks. Others want to see the country.
When you consider where to go for your next assignment, cities like Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles may come to mind. But smaller, rural communities also need healthcare travelers in a variety of disciplines including nursing and physical and occupational therapy. So, how do you choose? Don’t discount one setting over the other until you consider the following factors:
Interests and Lifestyle
Life in the big city is often different than a rural community. Consider the type of activities you enjoy. When it comes to nightlife, culture, and the arts, big cities often offer a lot more options that a rural area. If you are someone who loves to be where the action is, a big city may be a good fit. But rural communities may have their own charm and unique attractions on a smaller scale.
If you’re looking for a break from the pace of big city life, a healthcare travel assignment in a rural area may provide the change you want. Keep in mind that rural hospitals may not operate at the same breakneck speed as a large medical center in a big city. Consider what work pace you enjoy. If you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle, a rural assignment might be something to try. If you enjoy a fast-paced work environment, a small hospital may not challenge you.
Some healthcare travelers want to expand their skills. If you accept an assignment at a large medical center in a big city, you might see a wide variety of patients with all types of injuries, illnesses, and diseases. You may have the chance to learn about the most recent advances in medicine and use the latest technology. A smaller, rural facility will offer different opportunities. There is often something to learn at every travel assignment.
Rural hospitals usually offer a different work experience and may require more flexibility on your part. Emergency rooms may only be staffed with one physician. The hospital may not provide as many specialized treatments as a big city hospital. In a rural hospital, you may be asked to float to a different unit more often or take on certain tasks that you may not be used to doing. For example, in a large hospital, nursing assistants or ER techs might take vital signs or perform basic care. In a small, rural hospital, you might need to be flexible when it comes to responsibilities.
Cost of Living
Although it varies, typically big cities, such as San Francisco, New York, and Atlanta, tend to have a higher cost of living than rural communities. One of the perks of a healthcare travel assignments is housing. But even though your apartment is covered, the cost of living is still something to consider. Expenses, such as entertainment, clothes, and day trips on your days off can become costly fast in a big city.