If you are a registered nurse working in the field, then you might be considering your next career move. Right now, there’s a huge demand for travel nurses — nurses who work in one hospital for a few months to help fill in staffing gaps before moving on to the next assignment.
Becoming a travel nurse is a great way to build skills, make a difference, earn more money, and live in different areas of the country. However, if you’re planning to bring your family along for the ride (or not!), it’s important to consider how your career path might impact them.
Here’s what you need to know about becoming a travel nurse and how it might affect your family.
Consider School and Work Logistics
Depending on your situation, you might have a partner or school-age children to consider if you want to try travel nursing. It’s important to think about logistics before you decide to start your new adventure.
It’s not fair to kids to change schools all the time, but there are other options like homeschooling and online classes. If you are willing to put in the effort and make sure your children’s education doesn’t suffer while you travel and work, the experience can be great for kids.
If your partner can work remotely, then travel nursing can be a great way to have an adventure together. If not, then they might need to find another job or stay behind as you take new nursing assignments, which could negatively impact your relationship.
If you have young children, there are some challenges that go along with travel nursing, especially if you’re a single parent. You’ll need to move frequently, arrange for childcare when needed, and juggle an unpredictable schedule.
Be realistic about whether the logistics of becoming a travel nurse will fit into your lifestyle. It’s not the right choice for every family or for every season of life!
Broaden Your Family’s Horizons
Although the logistics of travel nursing can be a challenge if you have a family, there are some major benefits. You’ll give your children valuable opportunities and experiences by living in different places and meeting new people. They will get the opportunity to explore new places with you, broaden their horizons, and learn.
Stress Management and Family Time Are Important
Before you start your first travel nursing assignment, it’s important to have a plan for carving out family time and managing stress. When you’re starting out as a travel nurse, it’s easy to let your job take over your life, which will negatively impact your family.
Being proactive with stress management is important for nurses, especially travel nurses. Combining your stress management with family time can be a great way to make sure you’re balancing work and family.
Understand Your Financial Situation and Insurance Options
Travel nurses are usually paid as contractors and get health insurance through the staffing agency they work with. It’s important to find out what options are available for your family’s health coverage, especially if you don’t have access to health insurance from a partner’s job.
Finances are an important consideration for travel nurses with families. Travel nursing pays more than permanent nursing positions and you can often get stipends for living expenses, but it’s important to crunch the numbers and make sure becoming a travel nurse makes sense financially.
Realize You’ll Miss Some Things
Many nurses are young people who haven’t yet started a family, but others are parents whose children have grown up and moved out of the house. While your kids might not need you to take care of them anymore, you will miss out on some experiences if you become a travel nurse.
If you have grandchildren, you might miss some of their milestones and you won’t be able to spend as much time with them as you would if you lived nearby. If you have aging family members, you might experience some regret about leaving them behind while you work in different areas.
Travel Nursing Doesn’t Have to Mean Moving
Although many travel nurses enjoy the adventure of traveling and working in new places, you don’t necessarily have to go far away to become a travel nurse. If you live in an area with lots of hospitals and high demand for travel nurses, you might be able to take local assignments, at least for a while. Talking to a staffing agency about your options will help you understand what’s realistic!
Should You Become a Travel Nurse?
Travel nursing might be a great fit for your lifestyle, and it might not. Only you can decide if now is a good time for you to become a travel nurse. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons of travel nursing, and it’s important to think about the impact on your family, as well as yourself.
If you think you would enjoy travel nursing, don’t be afraid to give it a try. If you decide you don’t like moving around after an assignment or two, you don’t have to continue. But if you’re ready for a new adventure, it could be the perfect choice for you and your family.