Travel Nursing as a Single Parent: Five Major Considerations

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, February 10, 2022

travel nurse with child

Single parents are accustomed to doing everything on their own. No matter how difficult or inconvenient it may be, you find a way to make it work. But few single parents face the arduous prospect of packing up and moving their family from one city to another every 13 weeks. Such is the life of a travel nurse who also happens to be a single parent. It happens more often than many people realize, and it’s a testament to the resolve of a career-driven nurse — and a devoted parent.

Not all travel nurses are the same

People tend to think of travel nurses as young, single adults exercising their freedom and lack of obligations to seek adventure and enjoy new experiences. In truth, many travel nurses are juggling long shifts, frequent moves, and raising children on their own.

Travel nursing is a viable way for parents to provide for their kids, but it comes with special considerations that make it more challenging than other nursing jobs.

Since they’re constantly relocating, travel nurses with children must manage their own adjustments and help their kids adapt to change. Children thrive on routine, and establishing one is difficult when their lives are in constant transition. Every 13 weeks, they move to a new home, a new school, new friends, and new childcare. Taking care of all this is the responsibility of a busy single parent navigating their own response to change.

stressfull childcare

Five factors for travel nursing with kids

Travel nurses who fly solo only need to care for themselves. Children come with additional considerations that invariably complicate the situation. If you’re considering travel nursing as a single parent, consider these five factors before signing up for your first assignment:

  • Schooling. The traditional classroom isn’t ideal for kids who move around a lot. Single parents frequently use online educational programs that allow kids to roll credits from one school district to another.
  • Childcare. Most single parents will need to hire a new babysitter each time they move. Search local listings and interview multiple candidates before choosing someone who’s the best fit for your kids.
  • Social opportunities. Children need to socialize with peers in their age group. Many homeschooling programs host events to give children a chance to develop their social skills.
  • Moving. Long car rides can make kids antsy. Pack their favorite toys, snacks, and movies to keep them occupied, and talk with them about where you’re going and what they’ll experience in your new location. Establish consistency between temporary homes with possessions that are both easy to transport and provide your child with a sense of comfort.
  • Housing. Travel nursing agencies typically provide a housing stipend, but arrangements may be more complicated for single parents. Research alternative housing possibilities before you head to your next assignment.
travel nursing childcare

Travel nursing benefits for your child

Despite the obvious challenges, travel nursing can be rewarding for kids. They get to experience diverse cultures, people, and places — all of which are beneficial to early childhood development. Kids who travel a lot will be more confident when navigating unfamiliar situations. With the right preparation and attention, children of traveling nurses may be better equipped to take on the world than kids who spend the whole of their early lives in the same place.

When your children are traveling to an assignment with you, you’re bound to have questions. Your Health Providers Choice recruiter is always ready to answer them. From housing information to resources for supporting your child’s education and development while on assignment, we’re here to help! Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800 and let us help you explore opportunities as a career-driven single parent.

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About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.