Advantage Medical Professionals provided this article.
The unprecedented uptick in remote work policies and online education programs have arguably made the world feel a little bit smaller and more accessible for more of us than ever before. Of course, as a healthcare professional, it probably seems that not much has changed for us on that front. After all, our “office” is always wherever our patients are, and wearing your scrubs is probably the closest you’ll ever get to working in your pajamas. However, you can still reap some of the benefits this brave new world provides – the ever-growing remote work and education opportunities available to students and working adults have made it more feasible than ever for immediate family members, roommates, or friends to join nurses and healthcare professionals in their travel journey as a travel nursing family.
Of course, there are still some important factors to consider when deciding whether bringing family or friends along for the adventure is ideal for everyone involved:
The Kids Will Be All Right….Right?
As any parent or guardian would attest, kids naturally have a way of both enriching and complicating their life and career plans. This universal truth also resonates with healthcare professionals who have kids but also want to start or continue taking travel assignments. Unfortunately, there is no universal “correct” answer to whether you should bring your tyke(s) along, arrange for them to stay behind with their other parent, or consider taking only local contracts so neither you nor your children would have to relocate. The age of your child or children may be one factor in your decision – for instance, toddler-age kids aren’t in grade school yet, so that makes some things less complicated if you’re leaning toward taking them along.
However, you would need to make sure you have solid childcare arrangements in place. If you have kids in junior high or high school, childcare is less of an issue, but pulling them away from their hometown, school, and friends will likely be a larger concern. You can always do a ”trial run” by taking a short-term travel assignment (some can be as short as four to eight weeks versus the typical thirteen-week assignment) to feel things out before making any long-term or permanent changes to your (or your child’s) living arrangements. No matter what your decision is, family should always come first.
Regardless of whether you’re traveling with kids, your spouse, a colleague, or a roommate outside of the bedside healthcare field, it is important to take an honest, realistic look at both everyone’s work schedules, habits, and sleeping patterns who will be living under the same roof together to ensure they won’t clash. This doesn’t necessarily mean you and your roomies’ schedules need to be identical, but living with someone who enjoys opening all the blinds and doing an intense workout at 9 AM every morning while you’re struggling to fall asleep because you’re working nights might lead to some recurring trouble in paradise (even if that person happens to be your spouse).
If you and the other members of your family/household decide to travel together, here are just some of the advantages of doing so:
There is nothing quite like being greeted at the door with your little one’s arms around your waist or a peck on the cheek from your significant other after an exhausting shift. Having someone you care about around for emotional support can be especially comforting when you’re feeling overwhelmed or emotionally drained. Conversely, it’s nice to know that you’re in close enough proximity to your loved ones to offer them your support when they need it, too.
Let’s start with the most obvious perk – if you’re traveling with at least one other working adult (e.g., a spouse, friend, or roommate), you won’t be left to shoulder all the temporary housing expenses on your own. This can be a huge load off your mind AND your bank account.
Please note: If you’re rooming with at least one other adult that is sharing housing costs with you (especially if they are also a travel nurse), you should consult a tax professional about how this can affect one or both of your untaxed stipends since both of you clearly won’t be duplicating 100% of all your expenses. They can advise you about the best (and legal) way to manage your finances accordingly.
Embarking on an adventure has a unique way of bringing people closer together, and the adventure that is travel nursing is no exception. From the road trip toward your new/temporary home to navigating a new city together, there is nothing quite like the experience of discovering new places and meeting new people with some of YOUR favorite people. In some cases, you may get the opportunity to take a travel contract in a place that one of you is familiar with. If that’s the case, it helps to have someone you trust to show you the ropes. If you are the one who happens to have connections in your new/temporary town, don’t forget to take a moment to fully appreciate and experience some of your familiar haunts through the new, fresh eyes of your companion who is seeing them for the very first time.
Safety in Numbers
As nurses and healthcare professionals, we know all too well that the world can be a scary place. Living and working in a new place can further compound the anxiety many of us feel when we are already outside of our literal (and metaphorical) comfort zone. However, knowing you aren’t coming home to an empty apartment or hotel room every night can help alleviate some of the uneasiness we may feel if we were traveling/living completely solo. It may not cross your mind too often, but the opposite is also true – living under the same roof as you (and in the same zip code, no less) will probably help your loved ones sleep easier, too.
Of course, there is no magical one-size-fits-all solution that would work for every family or household. However, advances in telecommunication coupled with the growing awareness of how important it is to prioritize family and our mental health have made it easier for us and our loved ones to stick together, no matter where our travel nursing journey takes us.
Are you a travel nursing family? How do you make it work while on assignments? If you would like to share any travel nursing family tips or advice, comment them below.
>> Treat yourself to a change of pace (and PLACE) by exploring all the travel nursing assignments we have available nationwide.
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