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Rural, Suburban, or Urban: Which Setting Do You Prefer for Your Travel Nursing Assignment?

June 29, 2023
by Voyage Healthcare

Are you a travel nurse looking for new opportunities? One of the important decisions you need to make is choosing the right location for your assignments. The type of environment you work in can have a significant impact on your experience as a travel nurse. In this article, we will explore the differences between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions, including the unique aspects of each location and the pay differences you can expect. So, let’s dive in and discover which type of travel nurse suits you best!

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Rural, Suburban, and Urban Nursing Environments
  2. The Charm of Rural Nursing
  3. The Comfort of Suburban Nursing
  4. The Excitement of Urban Nursing
  5. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Location
  6. Pay Differences Between Rural, Suburban, and Urban Nursing Positions
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQs

Understanding Rural, Suburban, and Urban Nursing Environments

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s define what each nursing environment entails:

  • Rural Nursing: Rural nursing positions are typically located in small towns or remote areas with limited access to healthcare facilities. These positions often serve close-knit communities and offer a chance to experience a slower pace of life.
  • Suburban Nursing: Suburban nursing positions are situated in the areas surrounding large cities. They offer a mix of urban and rural elements, with access to modern amenities while still retaining a sense of community.
  • Urban Nursing: Urban nursing positions are found in bustling cities with a high population density. These positions provide opportunities to work in renowned medical facilities and experience the fast-paced lifestyle of a city.

The Charm of Rural Travel Nursing

Working as a rural travel nurse comes with its own unique set of advantages. Some of the key reasons nurses choose rural assignments include:

  1. Strong Sense of Community: Rural areas often have tight-knit communities where everyone knows each other. As a nurse in a rural location, you have the opportunity to form strong connections with your patients and colleagues.
  2. Autonomy and Variety: In rural nursing, you may be required to handle a broader range of cases due to the limited availability of specialists. This allows you to develop a diverse skill set and work more autonomously.
  3. Less Hectic Environment: Compared to urban hospitals, rural healthcare facilities tend to have a calmer and more relaxed atmosphere. This can be appealing if you prefer a slower-paced work environment.

 The Comfort of Suburban Travel Nursing

Suburban nursing combines the advantages of rural and urban settings, making it an attractive option for many travel nurses. Here are some reasons why suburban nursing may be the right fit for you:

  1. Access to Amenities: Suburban areas offer a wide range of amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational facilities. You can enjoy the convenience of modern living while still experiencing a close-knit community.
  2. Balanced Work-Life Experience: Suburban nursing provides a balanced work-life experience with a mix of patient population and case complexity. You can expect a steady flow of patients while also having time to explore the surrounding areas.
  3. Proximity to Urban Centers: Suburban areas are often located close to major cities, allowing you to access advanced medical facilities and explore urban attractions during your time off.

The Excitement of Urban Travel Nursing

If you thrive in a fast-paced environment with access to cutting-edge medical facilities, urban nursing may be the perfect fit for you. Here’s why many nurses are drawn to urban nursing positions:

  1. World-Class Healthcare Facilities: Urban areas are home to renowned hospitals and medical centers that offer state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment options. Working in such facilities can enhance your professional growth and open doors to various career opportunities.
  2. Diverse Patient Population: Cities attract people from different backgrounds, cultures, and demographics. As an urban nurse, you’ll have the chance to care for a diverse patient population, gaining invaluable cultural competence and expanding your nursing skills.
  3. Thriving Lifestyle: Urban areas are known for their vibrant nightlife, cultural events, and endless entertainment options. If you enjoy an active social life and want to experience the hustle and bustle of a city, urban nursing will provide the excitement you seek.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Location

When deciding between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  1. Personal Preferences: Reflect on your preferred lifestyle and work environment. Do you enjoy the peace and quiet of a rural setting, the convenience of suburban living, or the energy of an urban environment?
  2. Career Goals: Consider your long-term career goals and the opportunities available in each location. Determine if you want to specialize in a specific area or gain experience in various settings.
  3. Cost of Living: Research the cost of living in different locations, as it can vary significantly. Take into account factors such as housing, transportation, and overall expenses when evaluating your options.

Differences Between Hospitals in Each Location

Hospitals in rural, suburban, and urban settings may have distinct characteristics. Here are some general differences between hospitals in each location:

  1. Rural Hospitals: Rural hospitals are often smaller in size and have fewer specialized departments. They focus on providing essential healthcare services to the local community, including primary care and basic emergency services.
  2. Suburban Hospitals: Suburban hospitals can vary in size and services offered. They usually have a broader range of departments compared to rural hospitals, catering to a larger population and providing more specialized care.
  3. Urban Hospitals: Urban hospitals are typically large and comprehensive medical centers, offering a wide range of specialties and advanced treatments. They are equipped with cutting-edge technology and have specialized departments to handle complex medical cases.

Pay Differences Between Rural, Suburban, and Urban Travel Nursing Positions

Compensation for travel nurses can vary depending on the location. Here’s a general overview of the pay differences between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions:

  1. Rural Nursing: Earnings for rural nursing positions tend to be higher than average due to the increased demand for healthcare professionals in remote areas. This compensation reflects the need to attract nurses to underserved communities. Rent in rural regions also seem to have lower cost of living overall.
  2. Suburban Nursing: Suburban nursing positions offer competitive salaries that align with the cost of living in the area. Compensation may be slightly lower than in urban settings but is often balanced by a better work-life balance and access to amenities.
  3. Urban Nursing: Urban nursing positions generally offer higher salaries compared to rural and suburban positions. This is mainly due to the higher cost of living in cities and the level of specialization required to work in urban medical centers.

It’s important to note that these pay differences are general trends, and actual compensation may vary depending on factors such as experience, demand, and the specific facility or agency you work with.


As a travel nurse, choosing the right location for your assignments is crucial to ensure a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Whether you prefer the charm of a rural community, the comfort of suburban living, or the excitement of an urban setting, each environment has its own unique advantages. Consider your personal preferences, career goals, and the factors discussed in this article to make an informed decision. Remember, finding the perfect match will contribute to your professional growth and overall job satisfaction.


1. How do I determine which type of travel nurse I am?

Determining the type of travel nurse you are requires self-reflection and considering your personal preferences and career goals. Evaluate the pros and cons of each environment and assess which factors align with your values and aspirations.

2. Are there any additional benefits or challenges specific to rural nursing?

Rural nursing can offer benefits such as a strong sense of community, autonomy, and variety in cases. However, challenges may include limited access to specialized resources and potential isolation from larger medical centers.

3. Can I switch between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions?

As a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to choose assignments in different locations. You can switch between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions based on your preferences and career goals.

4. Are pay differences the only factors to consider when choosing a location?

No, pay differences are just one aspect to consider. You should also evaluate factors like lifestyle preferences, work-life balance, career opportunities, and the cost of living in each location.

5. How can I find travel nursing assignments in different locations?

One reliable option to find travel nursing assignments in different locations is to work with Voyage Healthcare Nursing Agency. Voyage Healthcare is a reputable agency that specializes in connecting travel nurses with exciting opportunities across various locations. By partnering with Voyage Healthcare Nursing Agency, you gain access to their extensive network of healthcare facilities and opportunities in various locations. They will guide you through the process, help you secure assignments that match your preferences, and support you throughout your travel nursing journey. Remember to stay proactive, responsive, and communicate openly with the agency to maximize your chances of finding travel nursing assignments in different locations that suit your interests and goals.

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In conclusion, understanding the differences between rural, suburban, and urban nursing positions is essential for travel nurses looking to embark on new assignments. By evaluating the unique aspects of each environment and considering factors such as personal preferences and pay differences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your career goals and desired lifestyle. So, choose wisely and enjoy the exciting journey of being a travel nurse!

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