Travel nursing is one of the most dynamic roles in healthcare. You get to work with many types of patients, meet amazing nurses and doctors, and experience life in other parts of the country. With assignments lasting 12 to 16 weeks on average, you’re never in the same place for too long. It can be exciting, but also tiring.
Factoring a relationship into the equation can make a travel career even more challenging. Long weeks away from your significant other or spouse is trying, but you don’t have to sacrifice being together for a great job. Traveling as a nurse couple can help you bridge your personal and professional lives more easily. To help you both balance your demanding work schedules and relationship, here are 7 tips to consider as a traveling healthcare couple.
1. Communicate With Your Staffing Agency
It’s important that you let your agency know you and your partner want to be placed on assignments together. When your recruiter knows that you two are working in tandem, it will be easier to align your schedules. In many cases, you might wind up working the same shifts at the same hospital.
You should also tell a new hospital your situation. Whether you’re a lab traveler or an ICU nurse, lead with your credentials, but mention your partner’s importance in your career as well. You’ve both made the decision to be travel nurses together, so it’s a big factor in your overall career satisfaction.
2. Discuss Assignments Together
You may love the idea of an assignment, but your partner isn’t interested. What do you do in this case? The best thing to do is sit down and make a pro and cons list together. Choosing assignments as a couple makes your relationship stronger and, ultimately, leaves both of you happier.
Each travel assignment has its own advantages and drawbacks. Think through each one and decide which opportunities present the greatest possibilities to you both.
Sometimes, one of you may travel for work while the other just tags along for the ride. If that’s the case, consider what the non-working partner’s schedule will look like. They’ll need ways to fill their days, so they aren’t unfulfilled for weeks at a stretch.
3. Split the Cost of Rent
A travel nurse couple can use the housing stipend for travel nurses (it’s tax-free!) to make lodging more affordable during your assignments. With two nurses in the relationship, you can take advantage of a bigger combined stipend, divide your rent 50/50, and live in a great place during your travel assignment.
Having a wonderful home away from home to return to each night will make every adventure more enjoyable. On your days off, nicer accommodations make all the difference in destressing.
4. Make Plans for Your Days Off
After some stressful shifts, you may just want to curl up in bed and hibernate. Give yourselves time to decompress, but try to avoid doing nothing in your new location. Having plans for your off-days will make it easier to keep your relationship exciting.
It’s best to align your activities with your interests. Animal lovers could make a promise to visit a new zoo in every state they work in; outdoor enthusiasts could plan hikes, bike rides, or other activities. And foodies can plan to check out a list of the best restaurants in their new area.
5. Take a Leap With Some New Assignments
You may see a travel assignment somewhere rural and think, “Could I ever handle that?” The answer might surprise you! Be willing to let life lead you to new, exciting places. If you’re wondering whether flying to Hawaii for 3 months as a couple is a good idea, go for it!
Many couples are amazed at how exciting travel nursing makes their relationship. The fun is doubled when you and your partner also share a passion for healthcare.
6. Be Flexible
You may not always work the same shift, and sometimes, one partner may accompany another while they’re in-between assignments.
Let’s say you’re a lab traveler who gets a great opportunity across the country. Your partner doesn’t have any assignments in that area. They could take one close by, or they could rest for the next few weeks while you take advantage of this job.
Remember, maintaining a happy relationship is all about finding the right balance.
Every travel career has its challenges, and flexibility is key. Celebrate each other’s opportunities, and support one another as you build your respective careers.
7. Think About Logistics
You may decide it’s better to travel with two cars instead of one, for example, to make commuting easier. You should also think about the cost of living, climate, environment, pets, storage, and keeping in touch with friends and family.
For a dedicated travel professional, life can be a constant series of moves. This can present personal struggles as well, so always be open with one another about your needs. The more you plan ahead, the easier it will be to fully embrace each assignment for the opportunity it is!
As you pursue various travel nursing jobs, it may be beneficial to get help when exploring your options. Travel staffing agencies make it easy for nurses like you leap into a new chapter of their careers by providing professional guidance.
At MLee Healthcare Staffing & Recruiting, we’ll help you start your new adventure.