Single parents consider careers in travel nursing for several reasons. A main reason is that travel RNs typically earn higher wages than nurses that don’t travel for work. Also, when a parent doesn’t have a significant other tying them down, the idea of traveling can be an exciting notion. As a single parent it can tough to bring home enough bacon without help from a second person so therefore earning more money is always a plus! And, its so fun to be able to jet set all over the country for little increments.
But…parents always want the best for their children. Ensuring they can provide for them, get the best education available and raise them in a happy environment are especially huge concerns for working single parents. Jugging the role of both mom and dad while taking care of patients at work can be a heavy burden.
The Biggest Worries Single Parents Have About Travel Nursing
- Education- For school age children, is it okay to make them adjust and make new friends constantly? Would they be changing schools? How do I make sure that the location I take an assignment in has a good school system? If I choose online schooling, how do I ensure they keep up if I am busy working and unable to monitor them?
- Moving- Is it going to be hard for my child(ren) to adjust to temporary homes? Are there easy and affordable ways to move our things?
- Childcare- Who can watch my kids while I work since I won’t know that many people in a new location?
Yes, you can be a travel nurse and a good parent. It just takes extra planning! And remember: travel nursing is not for everyone.
Consider Your Particular Circumstances First
Sit down and weigh the Pro’s and Con’s. Think about how many kids you have, what ages they are, how far you are willing to travel, if you have relatives or family near by, whether you would be homeschooling, etc. Also, have a conversation with your children. Open dialogues can gain valuable insight into your children’s feelings. Some children would enjoy seeing new things and meeting other people. But, others would feel lost and lose a sense of home.
Things to Consider for Every Children of Different Ages
When debating on choosing whether the travel nurse lifestyle would suit the life of your young child, under 5 years old, there’s a lot to consider. Firstly, do you think you can handle taking on the “terrible 2’s” while adjusting to new housing, work environments, and all the other changes?
Question: Do you have a plan for how you will find someone to look after your child while you are at work?
Answer: Luckily, some facilities have on-site daycare services available. Also, if you choose a destination that has family nearby, you can see if they will be willing to look after your children.
Question: How far from home will you be traveling?
Answer: Sometimes with a young child at home, it is in the best interest of them to be close enough to return home in case of emergency. Friends and family being close enough distance to you can really benefit you while raising a toddler-age kid on your own while working a high-demand job.
When children get a little older and enter elementary and middle school, things get a little more complicated for traveling.
Question: Will I be traveling during the entire year, or just when the school-year is not in session?
Answer: Many single parents who do travel nursing only choose far away travel assignments during the summer months when their child does not miss school or have to change systems. However, if you decide to do travel nursing all year, consider choosing assignments nearer to home. Another option is to consider an online charter school. That way, your child can get the same standard education as public school from the comfort of home and you can be there to help them between shifts so that your busy work life won’t affect their schoolwork.
Question: Is your school-age child mature enough to live a traveling lifestyle?
Answer: This is different for everyone. It takes communication and knowing your particular child’s needs to determine this. Also, at this age children begin making friends and relationships that they will have a harder time being away from while they accompany you on far away assignments.
When your child is in those years of transition right before adulthood, having them accompany you on travel nurse jobs can either be easier…or much more difficult.
Question: Does my teen enjoy the new experiences that come with traveling?
Answer: As you child grows up, they may start to crave the adventure of living in new places. Or, they may have a school they attend that they don’t want to leave and friends they are too strongly attached to that would cause them to want to stay at home. Fortunately, by the teen years they will have more developed personalities and taste so you will be able to know what is best for them.
Question: What benefits would traveling along on my nurse assignments provide for my teen?
Well, what better way for them to see the country and possibly visit colleges they wish to attend after high school. Also, its an opportunity to really bond with them as they blossom towards adulthood.
Travel nursing can be super rewarding and challenging. Research it before making the plans to take on big changes as a single parents. But, don’t rely on preconceived notions that its either impossible to achieve or easily obtainable. Travel nursing jobs are great, but just like many other things for single parents, can be a bit difficult.