What About Travel Nursing With My Family?
By Aaron J. Moore, RN, MSN, columnist
Q: I am considering travel nursing and was wondering about traveling with my family?
A: So by family I would assume that you mean kids, as well as a significant other. But first, let’s get that off the table: traveling with a spouse is awesome! My wife and I traveled together and had a blast taking turns picking our next assignment. My wife was not a nurse but she was able to find part-time jobs and plenty of stuff to do while I worked. We also met many couples that traveled together that were both nurses. They never seemed to have a problem finding assignments in the same location; sometimes they didn’t work the same shift or in the same unit or hospital, but they always found jobs in the same town.
But what about kids? Now that my wife and I have four children of our own, I have often pondered this question myself. What would it be like? I think the answer is the ever-popular “It depends.”
First off, I think traveling with a family sounds like a ton of fun. I mean, take travel nursing (one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life), add being a dad (the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life), and you could get an awesome combination.
Then I start thinking about the reality of it. Travel nursing with kids can be great, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. There are several things to consider…
I would say the most challenging part revolves around schooling, if your kids are of school age. Having moved a lot while I was young, I can tell you that transferring schools can be hard on kids. But some do very well and adapt to new places and people; in fact, some parents say that traveling has helped their kids learn to be more adaptable.
One option to consider is home schooling. There are now many online resources you can use for home schooling such as www.home-school.com and www.khanacademy.org. Travel nursing also presents many awesome opportunities for young children to learn about new cultures and places. Imagine teaching your kids about American history while living in a place like Washington, D.C. Or, how about teaching them about geography and maps while driving cross country to your next assignment? There are so many possibilities!
Another option would be to travel during summer break. Most assignments only last three months, so taking a summer off to go on a working vacation with the family is possible. Call a recruiter and see what is available first. If you like this idea, I suggest you plan ahead, as licensing, interviews, and travel all can take some time to figure out. You’ll also want to allow time to whittle down all the kids’ essentials to pack and take with you.
Lastly, you would need to consider housing. Most companies provide a one bedroom apartment, so, unless you’re up for bunking together, you can pay the difference for a larger apartment or choose the housing stipend instead, and put it toward something you find on your own.
Traveling with a family is possible; you (and your fam) will just have to be flexible. Travel nursing is a great adventure and worth the extra steps to get you and your family on the road. So sit down, talk to the fam, then talk to a recruiter. And then get out there and live the dream!
[Editor’s note: For more insights, see these recent TravelNursing.com stories about nurses who have traveled with their families:
Video: Travel Nursing Offers One Travel Nurse and Her Family "The World to Gain"
Article: Family-focused Travel Nurse Recognized for Skills, Dedication and Professionalism]
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