Travel Nursing With a Family: Balancing Career and Loved Ones
A career in travel nursing is an exhilarating journey filled with opportunities to explore new places, advance professionally, and make a lasting impact on patients’ lives. Yet while promising, this profession presents unique challenges — particularly for those with families.
When a travel nurse brings a spouse or children along, it introduces a complex and sometimes complicated dynamic. On the other hand, leaving loved ones behind for 13-week assignments can pose emotional and logistical strains. Identifying effective coping strategies for both scenarios is key to maintaining a productive career and a balanced family life.
Challenges faced by travel nurses with families
The constant need to relocate is a big challenge that can disrupt a family’s stability and routine. Children may have to adjust to new schools and adapt to different social environments, while spouses or partners may need to find new employment opportunities.
Meanwhile, travel nurses often work long hours, making it difficult to spend quality time with family members. The demanding nature of nursing — coupled with the stress of relocation — can take a toll on nurses’ mental and physical health, further affecting the family dynamic.
Generally speaking, it’s tough to establish stability when change is the only constant. Travel nurses and their families must be aware of this and develop strategies for getting comfortable and acclimated to uncertainty.
Tips for taking family on assignments
In travel nursing assignments involving the whole family, relocating requires careful planning and consideration. Some good family-planning tips include:
- Create a schedule to balance your work commitments and family time. Plan family activities in advance so everyone has something to look forward to.
- Research the new location, including the cost of living, climate, and available amenities. This can demystify the new area ahead of a relocation.
- Identify local amenities like parks, schools, grocery stores, veterinarians, and recreational opportunities to help everyone settle in quickly.
- Connect with other travelers who have experienced similar challenges. Ask them for tips about the area or for advice on getting the family acclimated.
- Consider flexible education for school-age children. This can include homeschooling or online education programs. Remote learning has vastly improved since COVID-19.
Travel nursing and family separation
Have you decided not to take the family with you on your next assignment? Leaving loved ones behind can lead to feelings of loneliness, but it might be better in cases when relocating everyone isn’t a viable option.
Regular communication can help bridge the gap created by physical distance. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to maintain real-time connections. Use videoconferencing, phone calls, and messaging apps, and establish a regular communication schedule with your partner or kids.
Finally, don’t forget self-care. Explore the local culture, hobbies, or interests specific to the assignment location. Mindfulness techniques, yoga, and meditation can also be powerful tools for managing stress and anxiety.
Find the right balance
Whether your family is coming with you or waiting patiently for you to return home, balancing your professional and personal lives is critical while you are on assignment. Proper preparation and careful consideration can help you get the best of both worlds so you won’t feel like you’re letting down either side.