To many travelers, travel contracts are, first and foremost, about exploring. From working in a new setting to visiting a new location on your off days, travel nurses and allied health providers alike choose to travel to new locations in order to broaden their skills and enhance their worldview.
As a traveler, you may think that going to state of the art facilities in major cities is the best way to gain experience. It is a great way to learn - but it is definitely not the only way. Many of the healthcare facilities that need the most help are in rural areas, ones that aren’t necessarily next to a major airport or a large town. And luckily for healthcare travelers, taking contracts at these types of facilities is an excellent way to both explore and gain a different type of experience. Ahead, we’ll outline four reasons to consider a contract in a rural area:
Learn About a New Culture
Sure, while you might learn quite a bit traveling to NYC for the first time, there are many other communities to learn about that aren’t as widely known. For example, tribal health facilities exist across the United States, serving American Indians in states such as Alaska and Arizona. By working there, you’ll experience a contract that is truly unique, like attending an Alaskan Salmon Bake or checking out a pow wow with Native Coworkers. Smaller communities can be quite welcoming towards travelers, and so long as you are respectful of the culture, you’ll gain a whole different perspective once you’ve been integrated into one of these tight-knit communities.
Hone Your Skills (While Helping the Underserved)
In a smaller facility, you may find that you have more responsibility than in a large city clinic. You’ll likely work in more areas of a smaller hospital, as nurses are regularly called on to float.
As a MedSurg Nurse, for example, you could get the opportunity to float to the emergency room, gaining ER experience while still seeing cases that are low acuity. After all, in rural health, major trauma cases will often be sent out to larger facilities. It's a great way to dip your toes in the water!
Looking to round out your set of skills? Clinicians and allied health professionals who work in rural areas see a wider variety of cases, and learn about the health conditions that are common in the area. You’ll often be caring for patients who are underserved, which will give you a great sense of purpose and meaning. For many of our clinicians that travel to rural areas, they say it reminds them why they went into healthcare.
Relaxed Pace of Life = Financial Stability
Commuting to work in a large metropolitan area can be burdensome. And what’s more, the costs of parking passes, public transit, and eating out can really add up! The cost of living is much lower in rural settings, meaning that you can get more living space for a cheaper price. Without even trying, you’ll be able to save more of your paycheck per contract.
Do you have a financial goal, such as paying off student debt, buying a house, or saving enough money to reach FIRE status? Working in a rural environment will keep you on track, both in your career and in monetary matters.
If you haven’t lived in a place with easy access to nature before, working in a rural setting is a great opportunity. Sure, rural health settings may be a long distance from the most popular restaurants or tourist attractions, but they are often close to the natural world - including the perfect settings for activities such as hiking, beaches, skiing, fishing, boating, and more.
In conclusion, if you’re ready to spend some time in nature and away from busy areas, honing your skills and helping communities who need it, it may be time to pack your bags! At BHS, we have strong relationships with a number of rural health clients, and will help to match you with one you’ll enjoy.