If you’re a nurse with a family, you might envision travel nursing as something only open to single people, or those with travel nursing partners. Even if you’re aware that it’s possible to embark on this exciting career and bring your loved ones along, you might think it would be far too stressful.
But the reality is, travel nursing offers the flexibility that allows one to bring the whole family and it’s totally doable, provided you do some planning ahead of time. In fact, there may be no better way to spend quality time with the ones you love in between assignments and shifts, exploring new places and creating shared memories.
Following these tips can help you kick off what’s likely to be a successful and rewarding journey.
When chatting with your recruiter about potential destinations, consider options where you’ll feel safe bringing the whole family, ideally somewhere there are lots of fun things to do with the kids. Feeling comfortable in the area is key to success – if it offers lots of cultural attractions, historic sites and the like, the firsthand education the children will get can be invaluable. Of course, outdoor adventures and beautiful scenery are a great way to keep everyone happy and active too.
It’s also important to talk to your recruiter about your family’s housing needs. While most travel nurse agencies provide furnished one-bedroom apartments or other similar accommodation for free, if you need more space, you can usually pay extra for additional bedrooms, or you might take a housing stipend and find your own place. Either way, be sure that it’s safe, secure and child-friendly.
Another option is to consider traveling in an RV, something that many travel nurses with families do. While it’s arguably best for those with smaller families due to size constraints, it brings the potential to save a significant amount of money as you can take the housing stipend and will probably a good amount leftover, paying for the spot to park it and perhaps utilities. And, you won’t have to worry about all that packing and unpacking every few months – when the assignment is over, you’ll simply drive to the next destination.
If you’ll be traveling with young children on your own, or if your spouse/partner also plans to work and you don’t have extended family in the area to help, making childcare arrangements ahead of time is likely to be necessary. If so, be sure to plan well in advance. You might want to connect with nurses in the area to find out if they have recommendations and/or search online, conducting interviews over the phone. The important thing is to get your childcare needs set up before you arrive.
If the kids are of school age, you might want to focus on summer travel assignments, or consider homeschooling. There are many travel nurses who travel before their children are school-aged, but homeschooling year-round or taking your older kids on a summer road trip can work well too. Every time you head out for an assignment, you create an opportunity for education and fun by making stops along the way to visit landmarks and various attractions.
While there’s no single solution that’s right for all when it comes to travel nursing with family – the experience of exploring new cities and meeting new people is a great way for everyone to grow together, developing even closer bonds.