Two women standing next to each other on a dirt road, questioning the animosity between staff nurses and travel nurses.

Why Do Staff Nurses Hate Travel Nurses?

Staff nurses may harbor negative feelings towards travel nurses due to several factors including differences in training and experience, perception of favoritism, and misconceptions about travel nurses’ compensation and commitment. However, it is important to bridge the gap between staff nurses and travel nurses by promoting communication, teamwork, and understanding.

Understanding the Dynamics between Staff Nurses and Travel Nurses

Staff nurses often work in a healthcare facility on a regular basis, while travel nurses are temporary employees who fill in during staffing shortages. This fundamental difference in their roles can lead to misunderstandings and tension between the two groups.

The Nature of Staff Nurses’ Duties

Staff nurses have established relationships with patients and colleagues, and they are responsible for the day-to-day care and management of the unit. They have a deep understanding of the facility’s protocols, policies, and routines, and they may feel protective of their unit and patients.

The Role of Travel Nurses

On the other hand, travel nurses are experienced professionals who are hired on a temporary basis to provide assistance during staffing shortages. They bring a fresh perspective and varied experiences, which can be valuable to the team. However, their temporary status may lead to suspicion and resentment from staff nurses.

The Root Causes of Friction

Friction between staff nurses and travel nurses can stem from differences in training and experience as well as the perception of favoritism within the healthcare facility.

Differences in Training and Experience

Staff nurses have often spent years working in the same healthcare facility, accumulating valuable knowledge and experience specific to that unit. They may feel that travel nurses lack the same level of familiarity and commitment, leading to a sense of superiority and friction.

Perception of Favoritism

Some staff nurses may perceive that travel nurses receive preferential treatment from management, such as higher pay or more desirable assignments. This perception can create a sense of unfairness and resentment among staff nurses, further fueling animosity towards travel nurses.

Impact of Staffing Shortages

Staffing shortages can have a significant impact on staff nurses‘ workload and well-being, which can contribute to their negative feelings towards travel nurses.

Increased Workload on Staff Nurses

When a healthcare facility is short-staffed, it places an enormous burden on the remaining staff nurses. They may have to work longer hours, take on additional patients, and face increased levels of stress and burnout. This added pressure can lead to frustration and resentment towards travel nurses who are perceived as temporary “outsiders.”

The Relief Provided by Travel Nurses

Travel nurses play a crucial role in alleviating staffing shortages and maintaining quality patient care. They provide support and assistance to overworked staff nurses, helping to reduce their workload and prevent burnout. Recognizing the valuable contribution of travel nurses can help bridge the gap between staff nurses and travel nurses.

The Misconceptions about Travel Nurses

Misunderstandings and misconceptions about travel nurses can further contribute to the negative feelings staff nurses may have towards them. Addressing these misconceptions is essential to promoting a more positive and inclusive work environment.

Misunderstanding of Travel Nurses’ Compensation

Staff nurses may assume that travel nurses earn significantly higher wages for doing the same job. However, while travel nurses may receive higher compensation due to the temporary nature of their assignments, they also face additional expenses such as housing and travel costs.

Assumptions about Travel Nurses’ Commitment

Some staff nurses may perceive travel nurses as lacking commitment and dedication to their patients and the healthcare facility. However, travel nurses often choose this career path to explore new opportunities and gain diverse experiences. Their commitment to providing quality care remains constant, even if their assignments are temporary.

Bridging the Gap between Staff Nurses and Travel Nurses

To promote a harmonious work environment, bridge the gap between staff nurses and travel nurses by promoting communication, teamwork, and understanding.

A group of nurses standing in a hallway, discussing travel nurses.

The Importance of Communication

Open and transparent communication is crucial in addressing any misunderstandings or tensions between staff nurses and travel nurses. Regular team meetings or forums can provide a platform for both groups to express their concerns, share their experiences, and find common ground. Encouraging honest conversations and fostering a culture of respect can help build trust and improve working relationships.

Promoting Teamwork and Understanding

Promoting teamwork and collaboration between staff nurses and travel nurses can help break down barriers and foster a sense of unity. Encouraging both groups to work together on projects, share knowledge and expertise, and support one another can help create a cohesive and inclusive work environment. Staff nurses can also mentor and guide travel nurses, helping them acclimate to the unit and feel more integrated.

Additionally, providing education and training opportunities for staff nurses to learn about the role and responsibilities of travel nurses can help dispel any misconceptions and foster empathy.

Remember, staffing shortages can be challenging for everyone involved. Instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s appreciate the relief that travel nurses provide and the positive impact they have on our workload and well-being. Together, we can create a harmonious work environment where all nurses, both staff and travel, can thrive and deliver exceptional care.


Q: How can healthcare facilities address the perception of favoritism towards travel nurses?
Healthcare facilities can address the perception of favoritism towards travel nurses by ensuring transparency in decision-making processes. Clearly communicating the reasons behind any differences in compensation or assignments can help dispel any feelings of unfairness among staff nurses. Promoting a fair and equitable work environment that values all nurses, regardless of their employment status, can help foster a positive and inclusive culture.

Q: Do travel nurses receive higher compensation than staff nurses?
While travel nurses may receive higher compensation due to the temporary nature of their assignments, they also face additional expenses such as housing and travel costs. It is crucial to understand the full picture before making assumptions about travel nurses’ compensation. Travel nurses often have to cover their own housing expenses, travel expenses, and healthcare benefits. Their higher compensation is often meant to offset these additional costs.