Urban vs Rural Healthcare Traveler Jobs: What’s Right for You?

October 2, 2023


Megan Bebout

GettyImages-1444921272-minWith loads of allied health and travel nursing jobs available across the country, it can be tough to decide where you should go next. One way to narrow down your options is to consider whether you want to live and work in an urban or rural setting: do you want to spend time in the concrete jungle, or with mother nature? Here’s everything you need to know about rural vs urban healthcare travel jobs so you can determine what’s right for you.

Urban vs Rural Healthcare Traveler Jobs: What’s Right for You?



What are urban areas?

GettyImages-1445033222-minAn urban area is a bustling, vibrant zone that’s characterized by a high population density and various forms of infrastructure including diverse health systems. When you think of urban areas, big cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago may come to mind.

Working at an urban hospital is a unique experience that mirrors the fast-paced, electric environment of the city itself. Amid the city’s pulse, healthcare facilities serve as a critical hub of care, healing, and hope. Here, you’ll not only hone your medical expertise but also develop essential soft skills like cultural competency, empathy, and effective communication. Working in urban areas is an exercise in continual growth and learning, all while making a significant difference in the city.

What are rural areas?

image (2)-minPicture this: endless, open fields with the wind rustling through tall grass, animals meandering about, and a stunning sunset dipping below the horizon. That’s a scene you can only get in rural areas.

If urban environments are big cities, then rural areas are small towns. These hidden gems are known for their beautiful landscapes and tranquility, a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life.

Unlike their urban counterparts, rural hospitals often serve close-knit communities where patients are your friends and neighbors. This intimate setting allows travel nurses and allied health professionals to build strong relationships with the people you serve, improving patient outcomes. But the best part is you’ll gain a sense of fulfillment that comes with making a positive impact.

Differences between urban and rural healthcare


Whether you’re a nursing or allied health professional, you could earn more on average in an urban hospital. Typically, cities have a higher cost of living, along with more specialized healthcare facilities, which can translate into higher salaries. Additionally, urban health systems often have increased funding and resources for traveling healthcare professionals.

Regardless of where you work, you’re likely to make more as a healthcare traveler than a permanent staff member. One reason is because travel nurses and allied health travelers may receive allowances for housing, travel, and meals, significantly increasing your overall compensation package. That, and your distinctive skill set makes you invaluable to hospitals in need.

Job responsibilities

While both share the common goal of providing quality patient care, another thing that differs between urban and rural healthcare professionals is the job responsibilities. In urban areas, nurses and allied health professionals tend to work in specialized roles on larger teams, dealing with a multitude of ailments. In rural healthcare, you may wear many hats because of the population size, handling needs from primary care to emergency services.

Professional demand

You know the U.S. has faced a shortage of healthcare workers for years. However, the demand for nurses and allied health travelers may be even greater in rural areas. Since these communities can struggle to recruit and retain workers who are less familiar with the environment, there’s a heightened demand for talented healthcare travelers like you.

Work environment

When it comes to the work environment between healthcare facilities in urban and rural areas, there are some key differences. Often urban hospitals are well-equipped with access to advanced medical technology and have the advantage of added healthcare support.

On the other hand, rural health systems are usually smaller with more limited resources. With fewer specialty providers and a variety of health issues to treat, rural healthcare professionals may have a broader scope of practice as compared to urban nurses and allied health professionals. No matter the setting, both urban and rural work environments present pros and cons.

Pros and cons of urban healthcare

Benefits of working in urban areas

🏥More assignment options

🏥Chances to specialize in your field

🏥Greater access to a range of medical technologies

Downfalls of working in urban areas

🏥Expensive cost of living

🏥Longer commute to work

🏥Higher bed and patient count

Pros and cons or rural healthcare

Benefits of working in rural areas

🏥Greater professional autonomy

🏥Ability to gain more assorted work experience

🏥Calm, quiet living

Related: Ins and Outs of Rural Healthcare with Travel Nurse Jess Stacho, RN

Downfalls of working in rural areas

🏥Fewer housing options

🏥Limited onboarding education and training

🏥Fewer recreational activities

Frequently asked questions

What about suburban areas?

Not sure if either urban or rural areas are right for you? There are always the suburbs! Combine the tranquility of rural areas with the amenities of urban life. That way, you can still enjoy peaceful natural surroundings while maintaining easy access to shopping centers, restaurants and bars, and entertainment options.

Urban vs rural: which has better work-life balance?

Interested in the ultimate work-life balance? The good news is you can find it in either locale. Since urban hospitals are situated in busy city centers, you’ll be front-and-center in a fast-paced and demanding environment. Alternatively, rural health centers may allow for a slower pace of life. Depending on your definition of “work-life balance,” you could accomplish it in either a rural or urban work setting.

In what environments can I find Fusion Medical Staffing travel healthcare jobs?

Both! When you travel with Fusion Medical Staffing, you can search for job opportunities across both rural and urban landscapes. Whether you’re keen to experience the non-stop energy of city life or yearn for the serenity of rural locales, we’ve got you covered. From large, sophisticated hospitals to smaller clinics, Fusion Medical Staffing ensures you’re able to reach top-notch healthcare traveler jobs in every corner of the nation.



While some folks may thrive in a city’s chaos, others might prefer a more intimate and peaceful surrounding — which is right for you? That’s up to you to decide.

Before you set your heart on one environment over the other, consider your personal vibe and think about what you’re looking for in a workspace. It’s all about finding the setting that suits your style and makes you feel like you’re where you belong. So, take your time and choose the place that feels right for you.