Have you considered the benefits of travel nursing versus staff nursing? Travel nursing has a lot of advantages and can be a refreshing change of pace for any nurse looking for a new challenge — but it's not for everybody. Travel nursing workers, like any other career, have their ups and downs, and you can miss aspects of staff nursing as well.

Check out what nurses have to say about various aspects of the profession before you start your first travel nursing job.

Travel Nursing vs. Staff Nursing: Which is More Stable?

Many staff nurses appreciate the security that their jobs provide. They enjoy returning to the same job each week, with colleagues and a familiar workspace, despite the fact that they never know what to expect during their shift because each patient is different.

As a travel nurse, you give up some protection in exchange for adventure. Although you can schedule your travel nursing jobs in a row, it's not the same as staying at the same hospital for years, with some of the same patients. Every few months, you'll be proving yourself as a nurse and demonstrating to the hospital that you know your stuff and are a valuable asset to the department.

Consider asking your recruiter and nurse manager about extending your contract if you prefer the stability of a staff role. Many travel nurses stay at the same hospital for at least six months, giving them plenty of opportunities to form friendships and get to know their colleagues.

Staff and travel nurses have different office politics.

What do staff nurses miss out on while they work as travel nurses? When you deal with the same people every week, there's bound to be drama. When you serve as a staff nurse, it's difficult to prevent disagreements over schedules, pay increases, promotions, and even staffing ratios.

You're the young kid on the block when you take a travel nursing job. Since you committed to a fixed schedule and compensation, you don't have to think about being promoted or having a better job, you will avoid office politics.

On the other hand, since you're just there for a short time, you may have a tougher time making friends with the workers. Concentrate on doing your job and assisting your colleagues, and you'll find that the majority of staff nurses are delighted to have you onboard and will warmly welcome you.

Getting any experience

When deciding between travel nursing and staff nursing, keep in mind that each has its own set of benefits. One of the most significant advantages of serving as a staff nurse is the opportunity to specialize in some facets of your career. You know where the supply closet is, who to call when you need something, and what a particular patient requires each week or month when they visit your facility. You're familiar with the most common diagnoses and how to handle them, as well as the seasonal diseases and accidents that your hospital treats.

Travel nursing is a perfect choice if you want to gain new experience and do something different without changing specialties or going back to school. If you work in your home state or move around the world, you'll meet new people and learn about cultural disparities, as well as diseases and illnesses you've never seen before.

You'll also be exposed to new technologies and encounter doctors and nurses who operate in very different ways than you are used to. Both workers and travel positions provide opportunities for you to learn. All you have to do now is choose which path you want to take.

Staff and travel nurses are compensated differently.

You're used to the hospital's time clock schedule as a staff nurse. Before each change, you might be required to clock in with your badge or fill out an electronic time card. In either case, your paycheck will most likely be deposited into your account via direct deposit. You should contact your facilities payroll team or your manager if there are any inconsistencies.

You may not know it, but as a travel nurse, the agency pays you. Although you will be charged by direct deposit, you must apply your hours worked to the agency in order to be paid. If you have a problem with your salary, you must contact the payroll department of the agency.

An unanticipated advantage? The majority of travel nurses are paid on a weekly basis. Nurses on the staff are paid every two weeks on average.

It's vacation time!

Working as a staff nurse comes with a lot of perks, particularly when you've been at the same facility for a long time and have accumulated a lot of hours. When you have more tenure, you may earn more hours per pay period, and you're more likely to be able to save it up for a major break if you want to. If your workplace allows it, it's also good to have paid sick days.

Most travel nursing agencies do not provide compensated time off to their employees, which may be inconvenient if you need to take a day off during your assignment. In most cases, paid sick time is not a choice. However, similar to how you use PTO, you have the versatility to take weeks or months off between assignments. You can set your own schedule and make time for holidays, extended maternity leave, or even medical missions, even if this time off is unpaid.

Wings or roots

When deciding between travel nursing and staff nursing, relationships and attachment to a location may be essential considerations. A staff nursing career is probably best for you if you're raising a family, spend a lot of time with close friends, or just don't like the thought of living out of a suitcase or going from place to place. 

And that's just fine! It's useful to be aware of your personal interests as well as any responsibilities that make travel more difficult. Working as a staff nurse can be rewarding and can help you form lifelong friendships with people you interact with on a daily basis.

As a travel nurse, you'll be exposed to a lot of different situations. Many travelers have just a few years of experience and want to change jobs every few months to gain new skills and experience. Others are empty-nesters or simply looking for a change after years of working in the same place. Others enjoy the excitement of traveling with their families and seeing various parts of the world.


Both staff nursing and travel nursing have advantages and disadvantages, so weigh them carefully before changing jobs or starting a new profession. Whatever path you choose, you can have a rewarding career as a nurse. It is however good to keep one's options open.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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