While many envision travel nurses as care-free individuals with little to tie them down, the fact is, being a travel nurse with a family is quite common!
It can be a truly rewarding experience to take your family on assignment with you. Seasoned travel nurses with families have already uncovered the not-so-secret benefits of sticking together while on the road.
Naturally, it requires a lot of planning—but so does traveling by yourself. If you are considering being a travel nurse, preparation before hitting the road is key.
SEE ALSO: 9 Things You Need for a Complete Travel Nurse Packing List
Once you’re on assignment, the fun begins. Here are five unexpected rewards of being a travel nurse with a family:
1. You get to spend more time together.
When you travel solo to your assignments, you likely only get to see your partner and children every couple of weeks. Or worse, every couple months.
Leaving your family at home can be extremely difficult for everyone involved, not just you.
Spending time with your children is incredibly important. Meaningful interactions between parent and child help develop crucial mental and emotional health.
Consider the following ways a child benefits from consistent parental interaction:
- Feels loved and develops a strong bond with the parent.
- Learns to communicate thoughts and feelings in a trustworthy space.
- Sees appropriate behavior and models his or her actions after the parent.
When you bring your family on assignment with you, you get to enjoy spending time with them every day!
2. It can strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
Traveling as a family unit allows you to depend more on each other, because you likely don’t have a local support system of family and friends to fall back on.
There may be challenges you face while on the road that may not arise in home life. These scenarios create opportunities to work together and create strategies to deal with whatever may come.
Because you will see each other in a wide variety of new and unusual situations, you will get to know each other better and appreciate each other more.
Traveling opens up a world of opportunity to experience these aforementioned “unique” situations. Consider how much more enjoyable navigating the following scenarios will be when you have your partner by your side:
- Discovering the best local restaurants
- Finding the right medical care in an emergency
- Making your new temporary house feel like a home
It’s easy to see how traveling together can strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
3.Your children have more opportunities to learn.
While you will have to make special arrangements for your children if they are of school age, there are so many incredible perks for a child who gets to experience a variety of locations in their youth.
Kids who travel learn more about their country on the road than they ever could by staying in one location.
What would otherwise be boring facts in history and geography books can literally come to life in front of their eyes!
Imagine taking your children on a tour of Independence Park in Philadelphia—do you think they’ll remember more about the Revolution and the United States Constitution than if they just read about it?
If you took them to the Grand Canyon, do you think it would inspire them to remember more facts for their geography lessons?
Perhaps more important than the inevitable history lessons are the cultural experiences. Traveling is the best way to experience new cultures and broaden your horizons.
Interacting with people who look or sound different than them is powerful for a child.
When your children see you respectfully engaging with people who speak another language or practice a different religion, their minds begin to understand and celebrate differences versus fear them.
4.Your children learn to adapt to new situations.
Many young people experience difficulties when they first leave home, especially if they are moving to a new city or state.
But being a travel nurse with a family provides a safe and comfortable opportunity for your children to experience traveling without difficulty.
Traveling helps your children learn how to adapt to new places, cultures, traditions, and religions. This life skill will absolutely prepare them for their future endeavors like college and eventually their career.
Adaptability is one of the most highly coveted skills sought out by employers. While many kids learn this skill in college, imagine the head start you’ll provide your child while on assignment.
5.You enjoy more vacation time together.
Because you usually have two weeks between assignments, you can take your loved ones on multiple vacations a year. This is an amazing perk of being a travel nurse with a family!
Not only is time off valuable for you (regroup and recharge), but the quality family time is priceless.
For example, if you have just finished up an assignment in San Diego and your next job is in San Francisco, you can spend time exploring the spectacular Pacific Coast…including Los Angeles, Big Sur and of course, Disneyland.
When you only work in one location, you are much less likely to get these kinds of opportunities, especially with this type of frequency.
As always, there are a number of important things you need to consider before you take your family on the road with you:
Can your agency help you find accommodations that are roomy enough for your whole family? If not, what other options do you have?
Note that it can be useful to rent furnished apartments, since that minimizes the amount of belongings you need to bring with you.
Some travel nurses live out of mobile homes when they bring their family on the road, because it reduces the amount of upheaval their children have to deal with.
Your children will need continuity in their education in order to succeed.
One option when you bring your children on the road is to homeschool them.
Individual states have their own requirements for homeschooling, so check out the regulations for the state where you’re registered as a citizen.
Since you’ll be moving around every 12 weeks or so, you’ll need to find a primary care physician and any other healthcare professionals your family needs ahead of time.
Of course, since it’s your own industry, this shouldn’t be too difficult!
Traveling could be difficult, especially if your children are teenagers.
You need to establish ahead of time how you’re going to decide on your next location; what happens if someone is really unhappy there; and how to deal with possible loneliness or other negative emotions.
Technology can be extremely useful in this, since it’s an easy way for your kids to stay in touch with friends in different locations.
Video chat can be a great way for teens and kids to keep long distance friendships alive and loneliness at bay.
Being a travel nurse with a family can be a wonderful experience that allows you, your partner, and your children to see more of the world.
Remember these benefits when considering travel nursing with a family:
- Spending more time together
- Strengthening the bond with your partner
- Offering learning opportunities to your children
- Children learning to adapt better
- More time for family vacations
Finally, be sure to consider the following family decisions before hitting the road:
- Can your agency help you find accommodations?
- Is there a good school option?
- How will you handle medical needs?
- What will you do if a family member doesn’t enjoy the new location?
Effective preparation and meaningful communication will ensure that being a travel nurse with a family is the right decision!
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