The Benefits for Nurses Relocating to Areas with Smaller Populations

By Natalia Wolting  • Feb 14, 2024

Nurses form the beating heart of healthcare, providing compassionate care and comfort to those in need. Despite this about 100,000 registered nurses have left the profession since 2020 after experiencing burnout - despite their services continuing to be in high demand across the country. For nurses seeking less stress, flexible schedules, affordable living and the ability to make deeper connections with patients - relocating to rural areas or small towns may be the solution.

Professional Growth

Contrary to the misconception that rural healthcare is limited in scope, nurses in small towns often find themselves wearing multiple hats. With fewer specialized departments, nurses get the opportunity to diversify their skill sets. Nurses in rural areas may find themselves involved in various aspects of patient care - from emergency room procedures to community health education. They may also find themselves taking on managerial roles, leading community health initiatives, or actively participating in healthcare policy development. This hands-on experience can be invaluable for those aspiring to make a lasting impact on the healthcare landscape.

Registered nurses who work for Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in North Carolina can be part of a 100-year-old healthcare system committed to being a place of healing and teaching and continuing to be a place of “firsts”. They also offer registered nurses a $25,000 signing bonus and a culture that’s built around learning, innovation and patient care.

Reduced Cost of Living and Financial Stability

Relocating to a rural area or small town often comes with a significantly lower cost of living than urban counterparts. Homeownership, raising children, saving for retirement and building wealth become more feasible when salaries stretch further outside dense urban areas.

Moreover, smaller communities often offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract healthcare professionals. For example, Indiana Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania offers between a $2,000 to $30,000 signing bonus for different types of nursing positions. This financial incentive coupled with the reduced cost of living in the area provides nurses with the opportunity to save, invest and achieve their long-term financial goals.

A Focus on Patients

Nurses in healthcare areas with a smaller population frequently cite lower nurse-to-patient ratios, allowing them to spend more time with each person under their care. This fosters greater job satisfaction for many nurses who feel they can practice more person-centered care. Registered nurses who work for Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown, New York can be part of a team that is committed to making connections with colleagues, patients and the local community. They also offer registered nurses a $35,000 signing bonus.

Rural areas also face healthcare disparities due to limited access to medical facilities and professionals. By relocating to these underserved communities, nurses can gain a greater sense of purpose by playing a crucial role in bridging the gap and ensuring that residents receive the care they deserve. This contribution can be immensely rewarding for nurses seeking a meaningful and impactful career.

Improved Quality of Life

The demanding environment of urban healthcare centers can sometimes lead to burnout and stress. Relocating to a less populated area can provide a reprieve from the chaos, fostering a healthier work-life balance. With fewer patients and a more relaxed pace, nurses in smaller communities often find time to engage in activities with friends and their families, pursue hobbies and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them. This improved quality of life can have a positive impact on both their physical and mental well-being.

Close-Knit Community and Personal Connections

One of the most significant advantages of working in a small town or rural area is the sense of community that pervades every aspect of life. In these tight-knit locales, everyone knows everyone, creating a supportive and familial atmosphere. For nurses, this translates into stronger connections with patients and their families. The ability to build lasting relationships fosters a more personalized approach to healthcare, allowing nurses to understand the unique needs and backgrounds of their patients.

In the tapestry of healthcare, the benefits of nurses relocating to rural areas or small towns are woven with threads of community, professional growth, financial stability and a sense of purpose. The rewards extend beyond the professional realm, touching the very fabric of personal well-being and fulfillment. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, nurses should consider the untapped potential that lies in the heart of these often-overlooked communities, where their skills can shine and their impact can be truly transformative.

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.