There are plenty of perks that come with travel nursing, from the chance to expand your professional network to the opportunity to learn more about yourself. The joy of traveling is, of course, chief among these benefits. But whether you secure a contract in a remote location or a bustling city, you know you aren’t just journeying to a new destination: You’re also immersing yourself in a wholly new healthcare environment.

What are these environments? Where do travel nurses go? And do travel nurses get to pick where they go?

Consider this article the real guidebook you need. Let’s dive into the most common work settings for travel nurses, the distinctive characteristics of each, and how to choose the most fitting facility for your personal and professional goals.

Where Do Traveling Nurses Go?

In short, travel nurses work in many of the same settings as permanent nurses. Your specific roles (and the responsibilities you might handle) will largely depend on your specialization and the needs of the facility. Your best bet is to apply to a staffing agency like Host Healthcare, where you’ll be paired with an experienced recruiter who’ll find available facilities and positions that align with your qualifications and interests.

That said, let’s talk about four of the most common places travel nurses work:

#1. Hospital Settings: The Backbone of Travel Nursing 

About 60% of all nurses, travel and otherwise, work in hospitals. As you likely already know, travel nurses often fill gaps at hospitals experiencing staff shortages due to a variety of reasons, such as:,

  • Nurse shortages
  • Parental leave
  • Illness
  • Vacation

As for which part of a hospital you might find yourself assigned to? That will depend on the specialty. A few examples include:

  • Emergency rooms – The exhilarating pace, the chance to provide life-altering (and even life-saving) care, and fresh challenges around every bend—there’s a reason why some nurses choose to focus their attention on emergency rooms. 
  • Medical-surgical – Medical-surgical nurses play a pivotal role in hospital settings by caring for a wide variety of patients. If this applies to you, or if it’s a path you’re interested in pursuing, you’ll be placed in the medical or surgical unit in a hospital, where you’ll be expected to manage basic nursing tasks.

Of course, these are only two examples. Given that a hospital handles everything from birth to critically ill patients, they’re excellent places for travel nurses to uplevel their skills.


For many nurses, one of the greatest pleasures of working in a hospital is the often large group of colleagues they get to work with and the sense of camaraderie that hospitals offer. This might be particularly appealing for travel nurses who experience homesickness when away from friends and family. 


If you presently work in a hospital, you’re likely well aware of the potential drawbacks—regardless of whether you’re at home or on the road. These drawbacks may include a challenging, non-traditional schedule and difficulty connecting with patients in a meaningful, long-term way. 

#2. Clinic Environments: Primary Care Opportunities for Travel Nurses 

In general, the second most common place for nurses to work is in physicians’ offices. These settings may be particularly appealing to travel nurses who have a specialization such as:

  • Women’s health 
  • Pediatrics
  • Dermatology


One of the advantages of working in a physician’s office is that these environments typically adhere to a set schedule that may free up your early mornings, evenings, and weekends—time that you can use to explore your new town or city. What’s more, you may learn a great deal from working with a new physician and a fresh batch of patients. 


The disadvantages of working for a physician may be saying goodbye to your team and your patients when your contract comes to an end, especially if you served a longer contract. Here’s the good news, though: If you fall in love with an area and/or a specific facility, you may be able to extend your contract. 

#3. Long-Term Care Facilities: Serving Diverse Patient Populations

Drawn to or specialize in working with elderly populations or patients with disabilities? You may be thrilled to learn that nursing homes and assisted care facilities are among some of the top places you’ll find when asking, where can travel nurses work?

These locations call for the same skills you might leverage in your home base, such as:

  • Assistance with basic tasks like bathing and dressing
  • Administering medications 
  • Providing emotional support and education to patients and their loved ones


For some travel nurses, working in a long-term care facility gives them the opportunity to create meaningful relationships with their patients. Others may get a tremendous sense of gratification from working with chronically ill and disabled patients.


If you’re new to providing care in assisted care facilities, bear in mind that managing patients with issues like dementia can be challenging, physically and emotionally.

#4. Home Health Assignments: Bringing Care to Patients’ Doorsteps 

Home health care has grown exponentially in the wake of the pandemic., Now, more and more patients prefer the convenience of receiving medical help from the comfort of their homes—including help from travel nurses.

As a home health travel nurse, you might perform many of the same tasks you would in other patient-care settings. And yet, you may also be asked to refine and flex your adaptability skills. Why? 

The role might bring you into intimate, ongoing contact with a wide range of patients in an equally wide range of home settings, from caring for an elderly patient who lives alone one day to tending to a child who lives in a large, chaotic household the next. 


The number of new people you might meet—and the stories they’ll share with you—may resonate with the adventurer inside of you. Plus, there are few better ways to get to know a place than through its people. 


Working as a home health nurse has its own set of potential challenges, such as:

  • A substantial amount of paperwork
  • Uncooperative patients
  • Unfamiliar environments

Fortunately, support is available for all of the drawbacks and situations outlined here if you’re part of the Host Healthcare family. We offer compassionate, 24/7 support to our members, which might be just the thing you need when adjusting to any new environment. 

Where Can Travel Nurses Go?: Other Venues

Here’s some more good news: Travel nurses don’t work exclusively at the facilities listed above. In fact, you and your trusted recruiter might also explore:

  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Specialty clinics
  • Academic settings
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Outpatient care centers and clinics
  • Vaccine clinics
  • Infusion centers

What’s more, remote, rural areas tend to be especially in need of nurses (and healthcare professionals), period. This might be particularly appealing for you if you’re keen on working with underserved, marginalized communities. According to recent statistics, a few of the areas experiencing a dire need of medical assistance include:

  • Southern Vermont
  • Eastern Ohio
  • Southwest Maine
  • Connecticut
  • Central New Hampshire
  • North Central Tennessee

All of that being said, if you’re new to travel nursing, it’s best to accept initial assignments in the settings you’re most familiar with—and with as few changes in other variables as possible. For example, if you’re a trauma nurse who’s accustomed to working in an urban hospital, you might want to search for contracts in similar settings. 


To ease you into applying your skills while living in a totally new environment. 

Do Travel Nurses Get to Pick Where They Go?

The beauty of travel nursing is that it gives you a healthy amount of freedom and autonomy. That said, the staffing agency you choose to work with has a crucial role in where you’ll go and the type of facility you’ll work in. 

How so?

Travel nursing companies act as the liaison between nurses and healthcare centers. They leverage their relationships with these facilities to place qualified nurses in roles that are suitable to both the nurses they represent and the healthcare facility—whether it’s a top-tier hospital in the center of Washington DC or a rural clinic in Southeast Missouri. To phrase it differently, the staffing agency you select is vitally important, as they’ll have a hand in your:

  • Assignment
  • Location
  • Contract duration
  • Schedule

Fortunately, the recruiters at Host Healthcare work closely with you to determine the locations and workplace settings that are most in line with your needs and desires. That way, you can walk into a new facility excited and confident.

Spread Your Wings with Host Healthcare

Consider partnering with Host Healthcare on your travel nursing journey. Our award-winning staffing agency pairs nurses like you with hardworking recruiters who’ll find you openings at first-rate travel nursing destinations across the country. What’s more, we have exclusive access to thousands of travel nursing jobs—meaning, you’re bound to discover an assignment that resonates with your goals and needs.

Build the life and career you’ve always dreamed of with Host Healthcare. Apply today. 



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