12 TIPS: YOUR GUIDE TO TRAVEL NURSING WITH FAMILY AND PETS
When considering a career as a travel nurse, some people are hesitant to get started out of fear they’ll miss their friends and family too much.
That’s certainly a valid concern. But there is good news: Many are unaware it’s possible to bring friends and family along on assignment, allowing everyone involved to explore new cities and partake in new adventures. Because travel nurses are in such demand, many agencies are now willing to go the extra mile to ensure they can be with loved ones as they fill needs in various locales.
Depending on your situation, that capability could be a huge perk of your job. After all, a friend or family member can be a huge source of emotional support when it comes to sharing the joys and challenges of life as a travel nurse, and your companion might also lend financial support so you can both enjoy your new city to its fullest.
Your first step in seeking such an arrangement should be to inform your recruiter of your preferences so he or she can be on the lookout for suitable accommodations on your next assignment. Often, savvy agencies can also locate family-friendly amenities on your behalf — facilities with in-house laundry, daycare centers, children’s entertainment, doctors’ offices, etc.
“On first thought, travel nursing with family can seem like an impossible option,” notes Kyle Schmidt on Bluepipes.com. “However, during my time as a travel nursing recruiter, I worked with many travel nurses who had families. Each had a different set of family-related circumstances, but each was able to find solutions, or rhythms, that worked amazingly well for them and their families.”
Here are specific tips for bringing friends or family members along on your next assignment.
- Think about the day-to-day realities. Do you really want to live that closely with your friend/family member over several months, or will you likely get on each other’s nerves? Bottom line: The last thing you need is an inability to relax after a day of nursing.
- Talk openly and honestly. Discuss any concerns with your potential roomie, delving into what your days will look like, how you’ll spend your time and who’ll take on which responsibilities. Be clear on how expenses, chores, living space and transportation will be shared; conflicts could easily arise if you have different visions of life on assignment.
- Research and establish key contacts in your new city. Have a clear understanding of how your companion will be spending his time while you’re working. If you’re familiar with the expression, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child,” you understand why it’s important to be in touch with the amenities that will keep everyone at ease during your tenure.
- Think through your travel logistics. Even if you’re able to walk or bus to your new workplace, you may want a car for fun and logistical reasons.
- Carve out time for your companion. It’s easy to become so engrossed in your work and your co-workers that you lack time or energy for your companion when not working. Remember that your companion came along, at least in part, to support your career. Courtesy dictates that you maintain an attitude of gratitude, text or email him frequently, invite him along when socializing with co-workers and let him know when your plans change.
- Consider a trip within a trip. Block out a weekend or weekends to enjoy your new city together. You may wish to book a hotel or bed and breakfast and/or explore an area store, restaurant, cultural attraction or nature spot.
- Pursue new friendships together. You will inevitably meet new people on assignment. You and your roomie may enjoy cooking a meal for, dining out with or enjoying a local play or concert with neighbors or co-workers.
- Reduce stress by working out. You and your roomie will feel less stressed physically and emotionally — and probably get along better — if you’re diehard about making exercise part of your daily routines.
- Encourage visits by mutual friends and/or family members. You might invite other loved ones for brief visits so you can enjoy your new city (and make positive memories) together. After all, such opportunities may not present themselves again.
- Consider an assignment where loved ones already live. Is a bigger reunion of family and friends in order? You may wish to broaden the experience for both you and your companion by choosing a destination where mutual loved ones already live.
- Bring pets along. Your recruiter should be able to make that work. If they are unable to find pet-friendly accommodations, you may have better luck searching on your own through Craigslist, Airbnb, VRBO or FurnishedFinder.com. Closely read housing contracts for contingencies. Once you’ve found a place, plan ahead to ensure your pet is calm and cared-for while you’re at work. No one wants to listen to a cooped-up dog yipping endlessly during your work shifts.
Finally, expect some things to go wrong when you take a friend or family member along on your assignments. You’re both fallible human beings, and the world is a fallible place. Despite the best plans and intentions of you, your agency and your companion, not everything on your assignments will go smoothly. Try to laugh, shrug your shoulders and move on. That’s all part of taking risks, trying new things and logging new experiences. And that’s what life’s all about.