Avoiding Loneliness as a Travel Nurse

Job Seeker

By Sarah Wengert

Many travel nurses and travel allied health professionals choose their career because they enjoy the independence of the travel nursing lifestyle. If you’re a solo traveler, your road is wide open and you’re fully empowered to choose your own adventure. If you’re traveling with a partner, family, or your pet, you’ve got a someone else to share the journey with, but you’re still free from a permanent home, hospital politics, and other such limiting factors of a perm staff role.

Traveling is a fantastically freeing opportunity, but just like everything in life, balance is crucial. Some travelers report the downside of that freedom can be occasional loneliness on assignment. In light of that, we’d like to share some tips that can help you avoid loneliness as a travel nurse!

Embrace Flying Solo

Oftentimes, feeling lonely can be linked to feelings of boredom. Don’t be shy about taking yourself on a solo date. Enjoy the benefit of being able to see interesting things, people, and place nationwide as part of your travel career. Hit up a movie, linger at a café, explore a museum, or stroll through a local park. Many of our travel nursing jobs are located near incredible natural or human-made attractions. Sign up for an art class or cooking class. Strike up a conversation and remember the power of positive interactions, be they small or large. Research during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that a lot of people were missing those minor, daily interactions with baristas, co-workers, and acquaintances just as much as they missed their close friends and family, whom they were still able to connect with online or via phone. Be open-minded about making new friends or at least sharing some quality time with new acquaintances. If nothing else, you’re a great date, so take yourself out!

Reach Out to Your People

Connecting with others — especially those who know and love you — is a great way to feel less alone. Make time to reach out to your friends and family back home or even new friends you’ve made on assignments throughout the country. Just because you’re not physically in the same place shouldn’t keep you from togetherness. Reach out often to friends and family via phone, Facetime, Zoom, or other similar avenues. We know you’re busy, but being intentional about making the time to reach out will improve your mood and keep you connected in an important way. Remember, even a quick text or IM session can help you feel less alone and allow you to chime in quickly whenever you do have the time. Maybe start a text or IM thread with some fellow travelers who understand where you’re coming from. Being seen and understood always helps us humans feel less alone.

Even your recruiter is a helpful person to connect with if you’re feeling lonely! A good travel nurse recruiter cares about you and is always there to support you personally as well as professionally, so never hesitate to reach out via phone, email, or text if you need someone to connect with.

Tell Someone How You Feel

A lot of life’s problems can be helped by sharing your feelings with another human. They may not be able to solve your predicament, but sometimes it just feels good to get it out. Be thoughtful about who you choose to confide in — you’ll want to share your thoughts and feelings with a good listener and confidant rather than someone who may be reckless with your trust or minimize you.

If you truly don’t have anyone to talk to, try journaling. Sometimes just getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper can help you figure out solutions or provide that important release that allows you to move forward with hope.

Make New Friends

A really positive feature of travel nursing is being able to make new friends and acquaintances. Some of the tips above are actually wonderful avenues to meeting people, but if that didn’t work and you’d like to meet new friends to help you feel less lonely and enjoy life with, you should focus on that specifically. We’ve outlined some great tips for making new friends in this previous article.

Be Mindful of Mental Health

If none of the above eases your loneliness or you’re otherwise struggling, please make sure to reach out to a professional. It’s completely normal to struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. So, first remember that while you may be lonely you’re far from alone in this regard! Consider the factors that may be contributing to your mental state. Some travelers feel alone when they first arrive on assignment, but end up getting into a great rhythm. It’s a fairly common pattern for travelers who trend toward loneliness. If you know this about yourself, it’s a lot easier to hang on during that early part of current and future assignments. Some travelers get a little homesick around certain holidays or times of year. For example, seasonal affective disorder hits many of us hard in the colder, darker months of the year. Once again, knowing your patterns can help you make it through with less distress.

To help you persevere through tough times, Medical Solutions supports all current travelers with a 100% free employee assistance program (EAP) that includes up to eight free, confidential sessions per issue per year with licensed therapists. Sessions are available 24/7 via phone or online. Again, these sessions are completely free and available for all our current travelers — you don’t even need to be on our insurance. The EAP also includes many other helpful resources to assist you with a host of concerns, issues, and obstacles.

We’re Always Here for You

Medical Solutions takes a human-first approach to everything we do, so we mean it when we say we’re always here for you, both professionally and personally. Of course, we provide our 24-hour customer care line, but even beyond that, we want to support you in any way possible. Some assignments can have lonely spells, but we’ll always get through them together!

  • Subscribe to the Medical Solutions Blog

    Get updates sent to your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.