travel nursing vs staff nursing

Travel Nursing Vs Staff Nursing: Detailed Comparison

Travel nursing and staff nursing are two different career choices you can make as a nurse. But, because both have pros and cons, many nurses aren’t confident while selecting their career path. This travel nursing vs staff nursing comparison guide will help you make an informed and confident choice. So, if you’re a nurse, or are going to be a nurse, and aren’t sure about the exact path to take, continue reading. First, let’s uncover the meaning, pros, and cons of being a travel nurse. 

What’s a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses, as the name suggests, are registered nurses who constantly change places. They work as short-term nurses in a variety of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, or anywhere there’s a shortage of in-house nursing staff. Just like any profession, there are several benefits and drawbacks associated with being a travel nurse. 

The Benefits of Travel Nursing

Flexible Schedule

One of the stand-out benefits of being a travel nurse is that you can pick your own working schedules and locations. Plus, you get to travel to different places around the world. Since the job is temporary, you can take breaks or work on your own terms.


Nursing is generally a highly paid profession, but travel nurses can earn more than in-house ones, specifically if they work overtime. According to research, a travel nurse gets paid £36,802 per year in the United Kingdom. Other privileges include free housing, relocation assistance, mileage reimbursement, and bonuses. 

Skill Development

Travel nurses have the opportunity to work in diverse work environments and people. They can better hone their communication, interpersonal, and collaboration skills. Plus, you’ll often encounter difficult situations, which helps you sharpen your critical thinking. 

Drawbacks of Travel Nursing

Here are the drawbacks or challenges you may have to compromise with as a travel nurse. 

Varying Pay Rates

Unlike an in-house job, a travel nursing position doesn’t offer a fixed salary. Your work settings keep on changing, with varying contract terms. This can result in an inconsistent income. 

Unfamiliar Work Environments

As a travel nurse, you’re constantly changing your living and work environment. So, you have to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of the new organization. In addition, you’ll also have to get accustomed to the city you’re assigned to. And, as soon as you get comfortable, you may have to move to a new location. 

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What is a Staff Nurse?

Unlike a travel nurse, a staff nurse is a full-time employee of a healthcare organization. They’re often involved in decision-making as well as organizational matters.  

The Benefits of Staff Nursing

If you want your job to be stable in terms of salary as well as environment, staff nursing is for you. 

Short Workweeks

As a staff nurse, you’re generally working a 12-hour shift 3 days a week, which means you have the other days to yourself. 


Staff nurses can choose from a variety of specialties. Plus, you have the flexibility to work in a hospital, a clinic, a nursing home, or any other facility. 

In-House Growth 

Another advantage of working as a staff nurse is the growth opportunities you get by attaching yourself to a particular healthcare facility. For instance, when you work in an institution, you can eventually climb to a higher position such as a chief nursing officer. 

The Drawbacks of Staff Nursing

Long Shifts

Full-time nurses normally have short work weeks, but they do need to stick to a 12-hour workday, which can be exhausting. 


Staff nurses have to complete given tasks within a 12-hour shift, which can be stressful for some. Plus, you need to make some critical decisions regarding patients’ treatment plans. 

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Travel Nursing Vs Staff Nursing: Similarities

The biggest similarity is that both types of nurses use the same skillset they’re taught during their education. One benefit staff and travel nurses share is the experience they gain during their assignments. Plus, nursing generally is a highly rewarding career path. 

Travel Nursing Vs Staff Nursing: Which One to Choose?

Now that you know about both types of nurses, it should be easier for you to make a career choice. In conclusion, both career paths have their benefits and challenges. If you want to travel and don’t mind switching facilities once in a while, travel nursing is for you. However, if a long-term commitment suits your personality and you don’t want to travel, consider going the staff nursing route. 

Travel Nursing Vs Staff Nursing: FAQS

Is a Travel Nurse the Same as a Regular Nurse?

Yes, a travel nurse manages everything like a regular nurse. The only difference is that they travel from one healthcare facility to another when the need arises. 

Is It Better to Be a Travel Nurse or a Staff Nurse?

Both career paths offer some unique benefits. If you want to travel and work in different settings, go for travel nursing. If you want to work with a single organization for a long time, staff nursing would be the right choice. 

What is the Difference Between a Travel Nurse and a Staffing Agency?

A travel nurse is a registered nurse who works in a variety of healthcare settings. Staffing agencies, as the name suggests, hire nurses, typically for one facility. 


Travel nurses and staff nurses are both registered nurses. Their skills are also the same. Here are the things that differentiate a travel nurse from a staff nurse:

  • Travel nurses work on-demand in different facilities while staff nurses are employed full-time in a healthcare facility
  • Travel nurses can earn more as they have the flexibility to work more. Staff nurses are normally bound to a fixed per-month salary
  • In travel nursing, you have more freedom, but there’s an element of unpredictability. Staff nursing is a more predictable and consistent profession

Ultimately, the choice between travel and staff nursing depends on your personality and preferences. Be mindful of the long-term benefits and drawbacks of both before making a career choice.