Travel nurses have the unique opportunity to travel across the country and explore new cities. While this way of life is usually associated with single individuals without children, we see plenty of nurses successfully travel to nursing assignments with their family.
Even though it takes a lot of planning to be a travel nurse with children, it can be done! You can travel to new places, meet new people, and make a ton of memories as a family. If this seems like an intriguing way to raise your kids, we have some tips for navigating travel nursing with children.
Deciding Whether Travel Nursing with Children Is Right for You
Before you begin looking for an assignment or making plans, you want to be sure that travel nursing with children is the right fit for you and your family. You will probably have a slew of questions, which is why doing plenty of research can help ease any concerns you may have.
You can also talk with a travel nurse staffing agency. Our recruiters at OneStaff Medical would be happy to answer all of your questions.
Of course, you will want to discuss any travel nursing decisions with your spouse or partner, as well. Make sure you have the same expectations and agree on what your family wants out of the journey.
If you have school-aged children, it also important to consider their schooling. Some travel nurses choose to keep their children in traditional school settings and take on travel nursing assignments during the summer months. Other nurses may choose online or home school options for their kids. Your children’s education may determine when and where you’ll be able to take on travel nursing assignments.
Before Your Travel Nursing Assignment Starts
The months and weeks leading up to your first travel nursing assignment will be busy. You will spend a lot of time talking with your recruiter and planning for your adventure. This is true for all travel nurses, but when you are bringing your children with you, even more planning is required.
Set Expectations with Your Travel Nursing Recruiter
First, you will need to find a travel nursing staffing agency to work with. When initially meeting with your recruiter be sure to set your expectations for what you are looking for in your travel nursing assignment. Is there a certain schedule you would prefer? Are there certain locations that you want to narrow your search to? Some cities like New York City or Chicago are difficult to move to for a short period with children. If there are any locations that you want to steer clear of, be sure to tell your staffer, so they can focus only on the places you want to visit.
Be sure to share with your staffer that you will be traveling with your family. They will be able to share helpful tips for setting out on your travel nursing adventure with your kids in tow. Your recruiter will also be able to advise you on housing.
Check out our blog about how to become a traveler and the requirements you need to get started.
Make a List of Housing Needs
Typically, housing will be provided; however, these are usually studio or one-bedroom apartments, or even hotels. If you need more space because you are bringing your kids, you’ll want to opt for the housing stipend option. Many apartment buildings and other rental options provide leasing agreements on a month-by-month basis. You may also be able to find units that are available for three-, six-, or nine-month terms.
Determine how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need as well as other must-haves. Some things to consider include:
- Bathtubs (especially for infants and toddlers)
- Washer and dryer
- Pet friendly
- Nearby outdoor areas
- Community amenities
You may also be able to find furnished housing, which would limit the amount of furniture and other belongings you need to bring on your assignment.
Plan Your Journey to Your Travel Nursing Assignment
Depending on where your travel nursing assignment is, you will probably need to make travel plans. Road trips can become more complicated with children involved. They require more frequent and longer stops.
If your nursing assignment is in a city across the country, you will also need to make arrangements for places to rest at night. You can also opt to drive through the night, so the kids are sleeping through a large portion of the trek.
You will also need to consider how you are transporting your things as well as how much you are bringing with you to your assignment. Will you need a U-Haul or trailer, or will just a large vehicle suffice? As you well know as a parent, children come with a lot of stuff, so this is something you’ll need to consider when making travel plans.
Organize Your Belongings
As you make your travel plans, you will also want to organize your belongings. Some nurses choose to keep their current living situation as a permanent residence and home base. If this is the case for you, you will only need to organize and plan what you are going to bring on your journey. Some nurses choose to put many of their belongings, such as furniture and keepsakes, into storage, while they pursue the travel nursing lifestyle.
Other families choose to sell all of their things and only keep the necessities to take with them on their big adventure. There is no wrong or right way to organize your things, but it is something that you will need to think about as you prepare for your first assignment.
Make a list of things that you will need to bring, including clothes and personal items for each family member. Will you need kitchen supplies? Bathroom items? Sheets and blankets? You will also need to decide what toys, books, and other entertainment items will make the trip and which ones need to be left behind.
During Your Travel Nursing Assignment
There are many exciting parts of travel nursing, especially with your children. You will get to spend a lot of time as a family, exploring areas of the country that you normal wouldn’t. Whether it is camping in the mountains or picnics on the beach, there is plenty to do as a family no matter where your travel nursing assignment takes you.
Plan Weekly Family Activities
Being a travel nursing family means that you will have ample time to spend as a family. Often, travel nurses will have three or four long shifts per week with the rest of the days open. Take this time as an opportunity to explore your temporary home. See local historic sites, go to museums, and explore the culture of the city and people who live there.
If your assignment is in a region of the country that you have never visited, take the opportunity to explore nearby cities or destinations by planning day trips or weekend getaways.
Get Involved in the Community
Meeting new people is one of the many benefits of travel nursing. Start by connecting with nurses that you are working with. They may have kids themselves, so they may have insights into fun family activities. You may also have children the same ages, which is a great way for your little ones to make friends. You can plan play dates or activities that both parents and kids will enjoy.
You can also get involved in the local area by attending community events and enrolling your children in activities. Check out the local libraries as they often put on free events for families. There may also be art festivals, charity events, or kid-friendly concerts you can attend.
Organize Child Care
When you are on assignment, you may also need to organize childcare. This will not be concern if you have a spouse or partner who is planning to stay home with the kids while you are at work. However, if you need someone to watch your kids during the day, you may need to find a sitter or nanny. Finding trustworthy childcare can be difficult when moving to unfamiliar areas where you don’t know many people. Care.com is a great place to start. They run background checks on all caregivers, so you can rest assured your children are safe while you are at work.
The hospital or facility of your assignment may also provide childcare, so this may be a question you want to address with your recruiter.
Other Things to Consider
While travel nursing with children is no easy task, many families have successfully become travel nursing families. Remember the first assignment is going to be the most difficult as you get acclimated to your new way of living. Be patient during the initial process, both with yourself and your children. It will be a big adjustment for them, as well.
If your children are school aged, working around their education can be difficult but it is possible. There are many online school and home school programs that allow you to provide instruction when you are off work. You can also enhance their studies by going to local museums and historical sites. This is a unique opportunity for travel nursing families as they can travel to various regions of the country over the course of a few years.
At OneStaff Medical, our recruiters are dedicated to making the transition to travel nursing easy for both you and your family. Reach out to us at 877-783-1483 to start talking with one of our staffers today.