So, you have decided that you want to become a travel nurse. Maybe you were attracted by the salary and the prospects of traveling. Or it was the freeing feeling of not being tied down that got your interest. Perhaps you get sick of working in one place for too long and a job that has “travel” in the name sounds too exciting to pass. But you are uncertain because you don’t know how you can make travel nursing with family work for you.
It is true, jobs that require constant traveling are traditionally associated with single people. Free spirits with no baggage. Loners and drifters without attachments, able to pack and move at the drop of a hat. But at some point in life, everyone feels the need to put their roots down. That is when you want to start a family.
Is travel nursing with a family impossible like it sounds? Surprisingly, no. It is not uncommon for travel nurses to be family people. Like any other job that requires frequent traveling, traveling nurses can also adapt to that schedule. This way they can stay on the road AND enjoy healthy family lives.
So, whether you’re a family person thinking of venturing into the exciting profession of travel nursing, or you’re a travel nurse thinking of starting a family, you can rest easy knowing you don’t have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.
Travel nursing with family – Common fears
The reasons why people choose to become travel nurses are the same reasons why some people avoid it. You know how it goes: one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. Common problems associated with travel nursing include job insecurity, exhausting travel routine, venturing into completely unfamiliar territories, tiresome work schedules, the gypsy-like lifestyle, etc. All these can seem too much to juggle. Maybe you, as a traveling nurse, somehow manage to deal with all that. But add a family to the mix and the job becomes all the more daunting.
Let’s address some common fears that make travel nursing with family seem more arduous than it is.
Many folks believe that occupations like travel nursing are just a step away from unemployment. When starting a family, it is natural for people to look for a safe, secure job. Something that provides a steady income stream. Travel nursing seems like the opposite of such a job.
It is true that travel nurses aren’t employed by a single facility. However, they can land fairly permanent positions with travel nursing agencies. That way they need not worry about searching for another job once their current assignment is done.
Besides, nurses are mostly, if not always, high in demand. Travel nurses are often called upon by hospitals to assist their in-house staff during seasonal shortages. There is no lack of work for skilled nurses. Travel nurses can relax knowing their families are protected from any repercussions associated with unemployment.
Another reason why travel nursing is considered a job for singles is the frequent packing and unpacking required while traveling. It may seem like a daunting task to have such a schedule with your family. But many travel nurses have learned to manage it well.
While it may seem difficult at first, humans have a natural capacity to adapt to any situation given enough time. Especially children, who have the innate ability to learn everything quickly, adjust to the lifestyle in no time. Soon enough, you and your partner would become masters of packing and unpacking. Even your children start to lend a good helping hand eventually.
Schooling and education:
If you and your partner haven’t started a family, or if your children are very young, then schooling is not your worry. However, your kids will eventually grow enough to be of schooling age. You as a travel nurse may then feel like you have to make a choice. To either give up traveling for your children’s education or to sacrifice their education to continue your lifestyle. Both of these choices are undesirable. Luckily, you have more options than just those two.
Travel nurses with children of school-going age can make their schedule work. They can make it so they only have to travel during vacations. That way they can keep the job they love without compromising their children’s education. The rest of the year, they can work in local hospitals or short assignments that wouldn’t require them to relocate.
Another convenient way is to utilize distant learning systems. When the pandemic locked down the entire country, students and teachers made great use of distant learning apps. This ensured continuity of education in the best way possible. With a steady internet connection and a smartphone, your children can take their school anywhere.
Stability and family brought-up:
Traditionalists would argue that the nomadic lifestyle of a travel nurse isn’t ideal for raising a family. That children need stability for proper brought-up. However, these arguments are subjective. A travel nurse need not worry about their kids turning out any different from those of traditional households.
Traveling opens up the mind in so many different ways. Children who travel a lot are proven to have better-developed personalities. They would also be more tolerant, adaptable, seasoned, aware, and tougher than children who live sheltered lives. By the time your children are old enough to start a life of their own, they would’ve already traveled far and wide. You can even say that this is one of the better ways to raise a family.
Travel nursing with family – How you can make it easier?
By now I hope you are convinced. It is entirely possible to be a traveling nurse AND have a family. While it certainly isn’t easy, it is rewarding. However, you have every right to make it easier for yourself – as a helper of humanity, you deserve it. So here are some tips to make life as a traveling nurse with family easy for yourself.
Don’t travel with your family:
Okay I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Most travel nurses with families don’t necessarily travel with their families. Instead, they keep a solitary traveling schedule while giving their families a normal, regular, stationary household. This option is feasible for travel nurses who have extended families. Their close relatives can take care of their kids and pets. It is also viable for those who want to save on lodging and rent while on the road. Or nurses whose spouses have steady jobs they wouldn’t want to leave. All these reasons make this a practical option for many travel nurses.
I understand this isn’t always easy. Leaving your family to venture out alone isn’t probably why you started a family in the first place. But you can make it work by taking job assignments close to your hometown. You can also plan your vacation times to ensure you get to spend a good while with your family every now and then.
Have a cooperative recruiter:
As a travel nurse, you sometimes depend on your recruiter to take care of your needs. While a single you might be able to put up with an uncooperative recruiter. A nurse traveling with a family, however, wouldn’t want their loved ones to go through any difficulties. So make sure your recruiter is not only cooperative but also has experience dealing with nurses traveling with their families.
A good recruiter would be approachable and would advise you on food and lodging in unfamiliar places. If you’re taking your family on the road, you have to first ensure your recruiter will help you out.
Distribute duties and responsibilities:
Your family isn’t a burden, they can be of help. As a nurse, you can’t expect to work a whole shift and still be able to do house chores. This is where a cooperative partner and children can help you out. Sharing the workload will not only help you but will also strengthen your family bonding. This way your children can also learn how much it takes to look after a family.
Get a mobile home:
Worried about lodging in a new city? Not sure about a safe place to stay? Your agency not covering your accommodation? Just take your home with you! You read that right, have a home on wheels in the form of a trailer or an RV, and take it wherever you go.
Procuring a well-equipped mobile home can be a worthwhile long-term investment in your career as a traveling nurse. These mobile homes have beds, closets, kitchen, restroom, air-conditioning, and plenty of room for your luggage and food supplies. You don’t even have to worry about your commute. You can park your RV close to your place of work. Or if you opt for a trailer or caravan, you have a detachable car you can use for driving around. Many traveling nurses have used these options to provide home-like facilities to their families while on the road.
Learn to give, and respect, personal space:
Traveling together all the time may be a dream scenario for family bonding. If your kids are young, constant parental supervision is great for them. But as they grow older they may start feeling suffocated from being cooped up with you at all times.
I know it is hard to accept that your children might need to spend some time away from you. Yet it is important for teens and young adults to have a small space they can call their own. While lodging in small rental apartments or hotel rooms or an RV, space can be a luxury. However, your children need to have their privacy. You must let them have a small piece for themselves, and you need to respect that. Giving your children personal space and respecting it is imperative. Not only for a stress-free traveling experience with your family but also for their mental development and growth.
Travel nursing with family – Final words:
The lives of a travel nurse and their family can be exciting, adventurous, and invigorating. But it can also be intimidating, unpredictable, and at times, inconvenient. For those who manage to strike a good balance, and overcome the obstacles that make this a somewhat difficult lifestyle choice, it certainly is rewarding.
It isn’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Don’t let minor hiccups and inconveniences deter you on your journey. After all, there is no guarantee that people with sedentary jobs never face hardships. Have faith in your abilities as a nurse; and a mother, father, or partner; and most importantly, have faith in your family.