Having a family should not stop you from thinking about travel nursing. If you have a family, you can still be a travel nurse. It’s possible to go on a nursing assignment by yourself, with your spouse, or with your kids in tow.
Have you and your family been dreaming about travel, but your long shifts at the hospital and difficulty securing time off make it hard for you to get away? Do you have a travel nurse friend who’s been sharing their experiences with you? Whatever it is, the possibility exists of becoming a traveling nurse.
How does travel nursing actually work when you have a family? When you are considering a travel nursing assignment, there is quite a lot to think about. This blog will review these considerations.
Can You Be a Traveling Nurse With a Family?
ABSOLUTELY YES! With today’s technology it is easier than ever to be a travel nurse when you have a family, whether you choose to travel alone or bring the gang along for the adventure.
Consider what experiences you and your family are looking for. If you live in a colder climate, you might want to consider travel assignments where the weather is warm and the beach is close by.
Another consideration is homeschooling your children. Maybe you want to travel where you can explore our country's history. Areas around Washington, DC would be a perfect place to give history lessons.
If you choose to travel alone or with your family there are several pros and cons to consider. One of the most important considerations is your living arrangements, and you need to find out if housing is provided or what type of housing stipend is offered.
If you are bringing a pet, you want to make sure you are renting a pet friendly place.
It is important to make sure everyone has a little bit of personal space. A 13 week contract doesn’t sound like a long time, but your living quarters can get smaller and smaller as the days go by.
Travel Nursing With A Family: Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons of travel nursing with your family. This list will give you a good idea of how taking a travel assignment with your family will be. Hopefully some of these points will help you and your loved ones make the best decision.
Pros of traveling together:
- You will be able to explore new places together at little added travel expense.
- Spending more quality time together can strengthen your relationship.
- This is a great opportunity to visit an out of town family member for an extended period of time.
- Most travel assignments pay a higher wage, which will give you an opportunity to save money.
- Traveling to new locations will provide new learning opportunities for your kids.
- By traveling and making new friends, this will help you raise children that easily adapt to different environments and situations.
Cons of traveling together:
- If your spouse does not have the personality to do things by themselves, they could get lonely when you are working. They would need to find out something to do with their time.
- Your spouse may not be able to find employment if only in the area for a short period of time.
- It might be difficult to find schools or daycare for the children. Homeschooling may need to be an option.
- Depending on your child's age, It could be difficult for them to leave their friends behind.
Tips for Staying Connected With Kids While Away On Assignment
If you go on a travel assignment without your kids, you will want to find ways to stay connected while you’re gone. Staying connected with your kids while away on assignment is easier now with video calls. If you can, set aside at least two different times each day to speak with them.
Listening to your children when you check in with them is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. Naturally, this matters when you are physically present with them, but it matters much more when you are far away.
Kids love receiving mail! Frequently mail handwritten letters and postcards to your children. You can also send them text messages throughout the day with funny memes, if they are old enough to have a phone.
If you have the opportunity, go home for a visit. Or, even better, invite them to visit you and explore your temporary hometown. This is a great opportunity for your kids to learn about new people and new cities.
Tips For Keeping Your Marriage Healthy While On Assignment
Keeping your marriage healthy while you are physically separated is not an easy task. A thirteen week contract does not sound like a long time, but it actually is.
You will need to make time to talk to your spouse on the phone or via video chat when you won't be interrupted. This will aid in keeping your relationship strong. Set up at least one call a day to keep up to date on what's going on at home. Discuss your feelings about being away from each other.
Another small gesture is to buy some new stationery and write intimate letters to the person you love. Send postcards from the places you visit.
When you have a minute to spare, send your partner a text message to let them know you are thinking about them. These texts don't have to be serious or long. Just sending a big red heart says a lot.
If you have time, go home to see your family. Or, even better, have them come see you so you can show them your temporary town.
Plan something special for when you return so you both have something to look forward to.
There are several different YouTube channels that are created by traveling nurses. There is a huge travel nursing community where families travel to assignments in their RVs. To get a taste of what it's like to be a travel nurse, check out this video produced by No Ordinary Path. They interviewed four families who are travel nurses in their RVs. All of the families have been travel nursing for over 2 years and agree the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
"I love travel nursing and my family goes with me, so we thought the video would be a fun thing for us to do," she said. "Every time I travel, I travel with my family. I've never left home without them." Her video, entitled “The World to Gain," takes viewers on a fun adventure following Kathleen Chandler, her husband, three kids, dog, and most recently, a new cat as they explore the country by way of travel nursing.
Can Your Family Come With You On Assignment?
More and more nurses are taking travel assignments, and bringing their family along. Whether that be your pet, your partner, or your kids.
Once you decide as a family unit that you will begin looking into travel nursing, start looking at the available jobs and fill out the applications. Work with your recruiter to discuss your needs and the needs of your family. Your recruiter is your best asset to help make your assignment successful.
When you and your family decide on a location and your application is accepted, it will be time to officially start planning.
Now is the fun part! Sit down with your family and make a travel plan. Do you have extra time to see some sights on the way to your new location? Remember the reason you're doing this, so make time to see and experience new things.
Before leaving on your adventure, begin to talk about things you want to do and see when you are at your new destination. Put together a list of things to do that can be checked off or added to as you go along. These lists not only keep you focused on your travel dreams but you can look back and see what you have done and where you have been.
When you accept a travel nursing assignment and decide that it is going to be a family affair, there are several things you need to take into consideration. The first thing to take into consideration is your housing. Talk to your recruiter to discuss your needs so they can help you find a good fit.
Some important things to consider:
- Ensure personal space for everyone
- Know the type of housing you’re looking for
- Local options for child care and local activities to engage your children
- The need for your partner to look for work
- The need (or not) for your personal car
- The length and number of travel assignments you’d like to take
- Making sure you find healthcare options and local doctors that will take your healthcare insurance
- Get everyone involved and determine what each person is looking for out of this opportunity
Invite Honest Communication
Discussing the possibility of travel nursing with your family and what that helps to ensure a successful travel nurse assignment. No matter what age the members in your family are, their needs and thoughts should be taken into consideration.
Here are some ways to find solutions that work for both sides:
- Include the discussion with everyone involved
- Use neutral language so even the youngest understands
- Use active listening skills when speaking with each other
- Make a list of all the pros and cons of the travel nurse assignment.
- Vote as a group on which decision is the best for the family.
- Make sure everyone, yes everyone, is on board.
Explore Your Options
There are several options when it comes to travel nursing. Depending on your specialty or experience might determine what shifts are offered. Will you work 8 hour shifts or 12 hour shifts? Will you be working days or nights? Also, where do you want to go? Are you looking to go to Colorado for ski season or Vermont for the fall? There are so many wonderful options to explore.
Working with your recruiter to find the best fit for you and your family is key. The recruiter will make sure you understand all of the idiosyncrasies of travel nursing. Each assignment is different and your recruiter will point out any differences for you. Most importantly, your recruiter will take what is most important to you and work with that, whether it be money, location or both!
Travel nursing has come a long way in the past few years. The flexibility to bring your family with you and enjoy traveling has never been easier. The options of different locations are endless. We are sure you will find what you are looking for.
If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, contact us today. One of our fantastic recruiters will give you a call to answer your questions and see what we can do for you!