ig Or Small City_ Which One Is Right For Travel Nursing

Big Or Small City: Which One Is Right For Travel Nursing?

Travel nursing is an exciting and incredibly fulfilling profession where you get a chance to travel to different cities or countries around the world. This means an opportunity to experience new hospital settings and meet a steady stream of people on a regular basis. Right?

But if you are a novice travel nurse who just got a job, it is important to know the differences between small and big city assignments while considering any opportunity. If you don’t understand what those risks and differences are, Fret not!

In this blog, we will tell you big cities or small which are right for travel nursing and what things to keep in mind before sign-on.

The Bottom Line: I have also designed a FAQ section especially for you to answer all the possible queries that many of you might have regarding the topic. Look for it at the end of the article.

Without further ado, let’s pick together with the right city for travel nursing, Big vs. Small cities.


First and foremost, know what kind of lifestyle you are habitual of? It might seem


a no-brainer to you but trust me before picking your assignment and knowing how you like to spend your time when not working.

If you are a nature lover who loves outdoor activities such as surfing, camping, hiking, or even desert adventures, then small towns are a more suitable option. Usually, small cities are more close to nature and offer plenty of captive recreational activities that might be your interest.

On the contrary, if you are an urbanite and enjoy going to restaurants for food, discover wildlife at exotic zoos, and go sightseeing. This is where big cities tend to excel. Small towns usually have rare modern things to do, like a modern zoo or restaurant.

So it is important to consider how you will adapt to your new local? Here are few pointers to keep in mind before signing your nursing contract- it will save you from many headaches;

  • It’s always good to do some research in advance, to know what’s around.
  • Another way is to talk to another nurse who has spent time in that area.
  • Have a well-furnished home having a beautiful interior i.e. furniture, automation etc.

That’s the beauty of this field, and you can put yourself in a place where you will flourish more both in and out of the scrub.

Availability And Branching out


To decide whether big cities or small which is right for travel nursing, look for the availability and possibility to branch out for professional growth.

Mostly, major cities in the United States of America are always in need of travel nurses due to their large sizes. They have facilities that include countless beds to accommodate the locale they are covering. Whether it is Houston, New York, San Diego, or Los Angeles, availability is always there.

Nevertheless, opportunities to branch out and go outside your comfort zone are very difficult at healthcare facilities in big cities. Because in big towns high skilled experts are there in the hospitals to cover all the positions keeping you in your lane.

Conversely, there are still plenty of job vacancies for travel nurses in small towns, but they are a bit more irregular than in big towns. You will always find availability in cities such as Los Angeles or California.

But in cities like Brigham, it is either hit or miss when it comes to securing a job there. These cities are not always in need of travel nurses.

On the bright side, when there is a rise in patients in small cities, you may need to jump into other positions and handle a variety of new tasks. This will help you in branching out and learning new skills.

Moreover, you may even enjoy the new skill and want to pursue it. You may get a chance to work in orthopedic, labor and delivery, or in medical. This is constant for nurses working in L&D departments in small towns. On the whole, there is more room for growth and learning at healthcare facilities in small cities.

Healthcare Culture

Another difference is that small town are very welcoming compared to large cities. In the healthcare setting, travel nursing culture plays a very vital role.

Without travel nurses, healthcare facilities will not be able to work from the area properly. Thus, small cities are more likely to be a beautiful place to work.


On the opposite, in large cities, you may not get the personal experience like in small cities, but you can definitely stay away from all the politics and drama easily. After you get your fill of city life, you reach the assignment’s end and ready to move on.

Besides, when you work at major facilities, you will get a chance to meet many people. However, travel nurses are integral to a healthcare system in both avenues.

Staff support

Another big difference is in the size of the care panel at your place of employment. Stuff support is essential such as everything from administrative to cultural to socioeconomic factors. Prepare yourself for different pace and emphasis.

If you are habitual to a certain workflow and supervision, then be aware of small healthcare systems. Nurses working in small areas usually have to perform more than one role, switching several units according to need.

Instead, big cities hire travel nurses for a specific job and expect to focus on that certain area of care only. Furthermore, tasks assigned will be different in terms of injuries and illness you will encounter daily. Big cities or small which is right for travel nursing depends on what you are more comfortable with.

Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some frequently asked questions.


  1. Is there any difference in pay between the two?

No, I don’t think so there is any good rule of thumb with regards to paying in travel nursing. But yes, it all depends on the place. In general, big towns tend to pay more than small towns. With that said, sometimes small city hospitals also pay more, especially the ones that are undesirable to most or mainly if they are during their bad weather season. However, one thing that is true is the state where nurses are a part of the association most likely to pay travelers more.

  1. Is there a difference in the cost of living in small vs. big cities?

I am sure there is, but as long as the agency is paying for housing, I don’t feel that it affects the traveler much. I think if we have to pay for housing only, then the living cost feels the most; otherwise, it does not affect the cost of living too much.

Besides housing, you just have to pay for food, groceries, and for gas in big cities, but the best thing is for travel nurses; these costs are insignificant in both cases.

  1. What are the housing differences in Big cities vs. small? 

The significant difference is housing is a bit cheaper in small towns in contrast to big cities. Although small towns have few housing options whereas, in big towns, you have plenty of good housing options.

But in small cities, you don’t have an apartment community and may sometimes have to reside in different towns or commute. Never take an assignment in a super small town as there are zero housing options.

  1. Are there certain specialties that are more common for travel nurses in small facilities vs. big facilities?

Yes, small facilities do not offer highly specialized positions like NICU, CVICU, Neuro ICU, etc. Because generally small towns healthcare units cannot support these specialized facilities, if you want to be hired at specialized units, then take large cities assignment. They are more likely to have highly specialized units.

  1. What is Travel nursing like?

Travel nursing offers freedom and flexibility.

  • You can choose the facility:
    • whether you would like to work in small-town healthcare facilities or urban facilities, you can select according to your choice.
  • You can choose the job location:
    • Pick the location of a big city life or resort living in peace and quiet environment of small cities according to your lifestyle needs.
  • You can choose when to work:
    • Travel nurse has the freedom to decide when to start work and day off in a contract as they desired so that you can spend quality time with your friends and family.
  • Last but not least, travel nurses receive high pay and benefits- The annual earnings of a travel nurse can be as high as 110000 $. Plus, you will get private housing free.
  1. How will you get started with travel nursing?

First, you have to submit a travel nurse application, which is actually easy to do. Once your application gets approved, afterward, you are not obliged or under any pressure to accept an assignment.

The travel application and interview process will only proceed as fast as you like. Next, your qualification will be compared with thousands of open high pay postings. The agency will recommend you assignments based on your experience and your needs for salary or location and benefits.

  1. How long does it take to get a travel nursing job?

Once you completed your travel application, your agent will start searching for assignments. The agent will begin searching for jobs that match your skills, experience and suits your geographic and shift requirements. Once they are done making a list of all the positions, they will present it to you.

You will select the desired positions, and your application will be sent to those healthcare facilities. After that, you will receive an interview call, and if all goes well, you will be offered a job. It depends on the season, your department’s demand, and how much you are willing to travel. It will take one to five weeks for the whole process to end.


  1. Is travel nursing in demand?

In a word, yes! More than ever. Technology has drastically changed the field of travel healthcare administration. The advancement in information technology has made it easier to find job vacancies at any corner of the country, particularly the moment they open up.

Whereas the high technology staffing services have made it more accessible and faster for healthcare labors to hire even larger lists of applicants. The increase in the demand for travel nurses has led the hiring market to vary noticeably in different country cities, in different specialties, and at other times of the year.

The Takeaway


By now, you do have a rough idea of whether big cities or small which is right for travel nursing? In my opinion, it is a matter of personal preferences. But always remember, big or small facility assignments will not guarantee a certain kind of experience.

Finally, it’s better to know what you want and do a little bit of research before making any decision. Doing so will give you an idea of what the assignment will be like. For further guidance don’t hesitate to contact us🙂

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