As a travel nurse, you answer a lot of questions. I am more than happy to answer most of them, as I was once the person on the other side interested in jumping into this crazy world of travel nursing. It’s scary, and knowledge is power. However, from time to time the questions shift to an almost judgmental point when they start to address the fact that I am married AND traveling…without my husband being able to come with me.
The worst one I’ve gotten so far is this:
“Oh so your husband doesn’t come with you? Are you running away from something?”
First, that was just plain rude. Second, you do not know my situation, nor did you ask other pertinent questions first. Maybe try “So how often do you get to see each other?” or “Do you like to cluster all your shifts together?” before jumping to conclusions.
Before travel nursing, I was working 36 regular hours each week, on call for 12, and often picked up incentive shifts for another 12 hours each week because for us to get ahead, that was what needed to be done. My shifts were often dispersed throughout the week, leaving me tired and burnt out on my days off. Now, my shifts are 3 in a row, with 3-4 days off in between where I can come home and focus on being home, being a wife, and being with my husband, not working through the brain fog of flipping my schedule every 2 days or working 16 hours straight to meet my call time requirements.
My husband and I made this choice together to better our living situation and reach our dreams and goals in a faster manner. I definitely did not come home from work one day and say “Oh hey, I took a travel nurse job, seeyain13weeksBYE”. There was a lot of talking, crunching numbers, and planning that went into this choice, just like any other major change we make in our life.
Now, I will not say this does not go without a good deal of extra work. We don’t get to enjoy simple things on days I work, such as a cup of coffee together or a quick dinner. We miss out on hugs and kisses as I walk out the door. But we have seen the vast amount of positives that come with this crazy adventure, and those by far outweigh the negatives. On days I’m home, I am home. I don’t get called in in the middle of the night, or have to sit at dinners with friends hoping that my phone doesn’t ring. The (inevitable) drama at work does not weigh me down as much. We have more financial freedom to do things on days off. I have worked one overtime shift in the last 13 weeks, which is a personal record for the last two years for me.
Communication is key in this. We spend a LOT of time talking on the phone, even if it is for a quick 2 minutes as I drive from my hotel to the gym. We send pictures, snap chats, and texts throughout the night. We created a Google Sheet to communicate our budget to each other so we are on the same page there. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who meets me halfway in all these things, and it has made the transition fairly seamless.
Travel nursing is not an easy job, and the strain it can put on relationships is real. However, it can work. It takes sacrifices from each side (I recently turned down a job at a well-known children’s hospital to stay at a smaller, closer facility). But in the end, if your job at home is wearing you down, sometimes being home and not being yourself is worse than working a little further from home and being able to give your full self at home.
With love, travel nursing, and long distance relationships,