By Sarah Wengert
You probably already know that Medical Solutions is a proud pet-friendly travel nurse company. But what about bringing human family members along on your journey? Can travel nurses bring their spouses? Can travel nurses bring their whole family on a travel nurse assignment? The answer to all those questions is 100% YES, although there are several things you’ll want to consider and prepare for when travel nursing with your family member(s). So, read on for some helpful tips on taking your family on your travel nursing assignment. We hope these pointers help ensure a successful journey for the whole crew!
When to Travel with a Family
Every family is unique, so your level of additional preparation depends on the scope and size of your family. Maybe it’s just you and your partner/spouse hitting the road, or maybe you have children and/or pets in tow, too. Whatever your family structure, you just need to make the right moves at the right times for the collective group.
Your unique family situation will determine the best time to take an assignment with the whole fam bam. For example, some travelers with school-age kids may choose to travel as a family solely in the summer months when their kids are out of school, while others may elect to travel together year-round. Others may do a hybrid model, where the whole family comes along for a summer assignment, but the traveler flies solo in the other seasons. Keep in mind that while the average travel nursing job lasts 13 weeks, assignment length can vary widely from as little as 1-4 weeks up to 28+ weeks — and that’s before you even consider assignment extensions, which can help you stay rooted in one place for quite a while.
Often, traveling with infants and/or toddlers looks different than traveling with teenagers, so that’s another thing to consider when making your plans. Additionally, if a partner/spouse is part of your family makeup, you’ll want to consider how your partner’s career meshes with yours — are they able to work remotely or do they have certain peak times when they can’t be on the move?
Your recruiter will be a major asset in helping you find jobs and locations that will work best for your family’s schedule, limitations, wants, and needs. If you’re traveling with a partner and/or children, be sure to communicate your situation to your recruiter as clearly and as often as possible. This will help them find opportunities that best facilitate your desired scenario!
Bottom line: Regardless of your family dynamics, you can absolutely be a travel nurse and bring your family along. You just need to make sure you carefully plan ahead so the timing is right for you and all of your family members. There’s no one right answer here, it simply depends on what best fits your family!
Travel Nurse Family Housing
If you choose company-paid travel nurse housing, you’ll want to work closely with your recruiter to ensure they can help you with any special requests your family needs — like additional rooms, a garage, pet-friendly properties, amenities, and other factors. Home is where the heart is, and your family’s not merely along for the ride, so you want to make sure to find a home away from home that meets everyone’s needs. This will go a long way in making your assignments more successful and keeping your family in good spirits.
Especially when traveling with your loved ones, you should also make sure that your company factors in safety and security if you opt for company-paid housing. And, even if you decide to take the housing stipend and arrange your own accommodations, ask your recruiter if your company has a housing team that can offer any additional housing advice, tips, resources, or discounts.
Travel Nurse Family Benefits
Similar to housing — and this goes for any traveler with a family and those who travel alone — you should collaborate with your recruiter and/or your company’s benefits team to ensure that you’ll have all of the right benefits in place and that you’re taking advantage of all the benefits travel nursing affords you.
For example, Medical Solutions offers day one medical, dental, and vision benefits with several plan tier options and an HSA so you can customize to your family’s exact needs. You may also want to consider some of our voluntary traveler benefits to provide your family with additional peace of mind. And you should definitely talk to your recruiter to make sure you’re earning and saving money with our licensure and specialty certification reimbursement, traveler discount program (save money on hotel stays, rental cars, scrubs, phone service, and more), and direct compensation through our 401(k) with company contribution, referral bonus, and loyalty bonus programs.
It’s different for every travel nurse company, but Medical Solutions open enrollment is typically every October with benefits going live at the start of the following calendar year. This is your annual opportunity to make changes and updates to all your benefits elections. During the rest of the year, if you have a lapse between Medical Solutions assignments of 30 days or less, your benefits choices will remain as is. However, if you go more than 30 days between assignments with us, you’ll need to make new elections. As with anything, your recruiter is your dedicated, go-to contact for any benefits questions you have before, during, or after your assignment!
Education, Childcare, and Healthcare When Travel Nursing with Family
Especially when you’re travel nursing with kids, you’ll want to proactively plan for things like education, childcare, and healthcare before you head out on your assignment. Before you sign a contract you’ll want to explore the location’s offerings when it comes to local schools, day cares, and pediatricians. It’s a great idea to reach out to those contacts ahead of time to make sure you’ll have everything in place for your kids, yourself, and your partner when you land in your new location.
You don’t want to start a new assignment while stressing out about school enrollment (or a state’s homeschooling requirements, if you choose that path), finding childcare, or where to take your kiddos should a bad cold, ear infection, or other health issue arise. Not to mention, you should also have go-to local doctors and/or the nearest urgent care clinic top of mind in case you or your partner unexpectedly get ill. And, if your family includes a pet, the same goes for having a vetted vet at the ready!
Communicate Clearly and Make a Plan Before You Go
Whether traveling with just a partner or as a family of four, it’s very important that everyone feels included and empowered in their own way at the start of an assignment. If you all set out as a unit with a clear plan, make everyone feel heard, and try to minimize surprises, you’ll set a fabulous foundation that will pay off in the long run.
Here are some great tactics to start with:
- First, create and reinforce a team mentality. You’re not a solo artist when travel nursing with family — so make sure the band is aligned and in tune!
- Before you hit the road meet as a duo or group to plan out travel routes and discuss new routines. Talk about business items but be sure to discuss some of the exciting stuff as well, like fun activities along the road or during the assignment.
- Get all of your belongings organized beforehand. Separate items for donation, storage, and what you’ll bring along.
- Delegate and get your partner and/or kids involved in pre-travel tasks. This gives everyone a stake in the experience and helps ease your workload.
- Repeat the delegation and task-sharing process upon arrival. Although, it’s wisest to map out your ideas before Those first days of orientation can be hard work with so much to learn. Prepare ahead to help manage stress!
- Your day-to-day family environment changes while on assignment. Work as a team to make sure that everyone has their own space — however small! — in your new home.
- Remind each other how lucky you are! Travel nursing as a family should be a unique and wonderful experience for everyone. You’re creating memories together that will last forever — with a little preparation, teamwork, and gratitude you can make them great memories.
- Revaluate with your family before extending or taking a new assignment.
Make the Most of Days Off!
OK, so far we’ve reviewed some of the more business-related to dos you’ll need to think about when travel nursing with family. All of that stuff is super-duper important, but, as most wise folks know, the most important thing in life is taking time to make memories with the people you love!
It’s so important to take advantage of the fun and adventure there is to discover in the many great states you and your family can travel to. Travel nursing with kids and/or your partner opens up all kinds of possibilities for your crew to have a blast and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s a quick trip to a café with a beautiful view, a three-day road trip to a nearby theme park, or any adventure in between, take the time and make the memories.
Ready to get started travel nursing with family now or in the future? Be sure to keep your eyes on available travel nurse and allied health jobs at Medical Solutions. You can also get started with a recruiter, who will become your go-to resource for finding jobs, getting the right benefits, and making sure your family has everything they need to hit the road together as a team.