Travel Nurse vs Staff Nurse: What Are the Differences?

Posted October 5, 2022 by in Career

Short-term medical missions are in demand, but not everybody is cut out for the job. While some experience is nice, what’s important is the personal character necessary to handle the challenging situations that arise.

If you are considering traveling to new places while making income in your nursing career, a travel nurse position is perfect. Consider searching for a travel nurse contract position. However, before becoming a travel nurse, it is crucial to understand the difference between a travel nurse and a staff nurse.

Who knows? You might even consider the latter more. To help you, here’s a quick rundown of the key differences between these two types of nurses.

Job Description

A travel nurse is a nurse who works in hospitals or other healthcare facilities that need temporary staffing. This may be due to a shortage of nurses in the area, or because the facility is undergoing renovations or construction.

Travel nurses typically work for a specific length of time (usually 13 weeks) and then move on to another assignment. This allows them to be more flexible with their job choices and to experience a variety of work environments. 

Also, travel nurses have more responsibility than staff nurses. They may be responsible for caring for a larger number of patients and may have to work in more challenging environments.

A staff nurse, on the other hand, works in one specific facility on a more permanent basis. They may work in a variety of different units within the hospital, and their job duties may vary depending on the unit they’re working in. A staff nurse typically has more stability and may have more opportunities for career advancement.


Travel nurses make far more money than staff nurses. This is because travel nurses can negotiate their salary and are often paid per hour, while staff nurses are paid a set salary.

Travel nurses also get a per diem, which is a daily allowance for expenses. This allowance can be used for food, lodging, and other incidentals.

They also tend to have more experience than staff nurses, which is another factor that contributes to their higher salaries. With this, a travel nurse needs to properly manage their money. Know more info about this

Education & Certification

Travel nurses are typically required to have a higher level of education, such as a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and they must be certified in a specialty area. They have more experience and are more highly skilled.

While, staff nurses typically only need an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, and they are not required to be certified in a specialty area. They may be hired with little or no experience. They may have the opportunity to advance within the organization, but their career path is more linear. 

Distinction Between Travel Nurse vs Staff Nurse

If you are considering a career in nursing, you may be wondering what the travel nurse vs. staff nurse is. Both positions offer a variety of benefits, but there are some key differences to consider.

If you working at multiple locations and are willing to sacrifice some stability for higher pay, then travel nursing may be the right choice for you. If you prefer working at one location and have long-term career goals, then staff nursing may be the better option. Ultimately, the decision between a travel nurse and a staff nurse depends on your individual preferences and career goals. 

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