This article provided by: TaleMed
Can Travel Nurses Bring Their Families on Assignments?
Travel nurses are sometimes faced with a hard choice — work or family? Maybe you started traveling when you were single, but what happens when you marry and have children? Can you really “have it all”?
There are challenges and rewards to having a family while on the road. Travel nurses get to explore exciting new places and cultures, both on the job and during downtime. They also can share that experience with their significant others and children.
What Works Best for You?
Traveling alone takes much less coordination. A flexible schedule also increases the potential for you to earn more during your assignment by taking overtime or extensions. “Having a flexible schedule helps when you have a family as well,” says Jeremy Anderson, TaleMed Staffing Team Manager “You can plan your shifts as needed at the times that work best for your family’s needs.”
Some travel nurses try to have the best of both worlds and stay close to home. Maybe they want to support their child who has obligations they can’t easily leave, like school sports or band. As HealthLeaders magazine reports, “You can obtain assignments that are a comfortable drives away from home.”
Many travel nurses who don’t have children or have adult children bring their partners along on assignments. TaleMed works with several traveling pairs – two friends or couples early on in their relationship or married for 30+ years.
The Benefits of Traveling with Family
Being a traveling healthcare professional with children can seem daunting, but there are many benefits. Traveling with kids can be fun, rewarding and educational:
- You’re there for important milestones and can create stronger bonds through shared experiences and memories.
- Being on the job can also be a “Working Vacation,” as days off mean trips to new and different parks, beaches, cities and restaurants.
- Travel can be a teaching opportunity for children to grow, learn and be flexible.
No matter where you are around the country, having your family with you provides a sense of home. “When you go to a new hospital, it’s like the first day of school,” says Jeremy. “At the end of the day, you have your family to come home to. You’re out of your comfort zone, but you still have some familiarity.”
Plan Before Traveling
If you’re bringing family along, it’s a good idea to talk with your recruiter and make a travel plan before you hit the road. The National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations notes that travel expenses and housing are often included in the pay package for an assignment. But there’s lots of flexibility in finding the right place. Don’t be afraid to ensure your temporary home has:
- A comfortable amount of space, including the number of bedrooms
- An easy way to do laundry
- A number of nearby activities, such as parks and playgrounds
If you’re traveling with a family, be sure to think about all contingencies. For example, research the names of physicians and hospitals near your temporary home to save yourself the stress of finding a doctor if someone in your family is sick. Traveling families need to plan around schooling. You need enrollment information on local schools or a plan to homeschool your kids. Some travelers will schedule their assignment for their kids’ summer break to avoid school logistics.
“Finding a job for a spouse while you’re traveling isn’t as challenging as you think. A lot of jobs can be done remotely or as freelance work. A local part-time position can help to integrate into the community,” says Jeremy Anderson.
“In addition to travel logistics, it’s important to ensure that the assignment will be the best situation for you and your family,” says Jeremy. “Make sure to ask a lot of questions in your interview with the hiring manager so you have a complete understanding of shift requirements, responsibilities, call expectations, floating policy and more.”
Life on the Road
One way to avoid the logistical issues of a car and housing is using an RV or trailer. Travel nurse Larry Pitts and his family travel this way and love it.
Larry started his career as an ER nurse in North Carolina. “I met countless travel nurses,” he remembers. “They told me about traveling all over the U.S.”
Now he, his stay-at-home wife and 20-month-old daughter travel to assignments in a fifth-wheel camper and love seeing the country together.
“Live in a camper for two years, and you won’t be a hoarder,” he says. “You realize everything you take for granted, like running water, space and convenience.”
The pros, however, far outweigh the cons. “My best assignment was in Arizona,” says Larry. “It’s close to everything, including the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Las Vegas. It’s like being on vacation 365 days a year!”
Travel nurses don’t have to choose between a career or family. You can travel and live all over the country with your family by your side.
We hope this article has given you some tips on traveling with family! If you would like more tips or advice on traveling with family these articles are great resources: It is Possible to Take a Travel Nurse Assignment with a Family and Frequently Asked Friday: Tips for Traveling with Children.