Traveling can be fun and exciting but also tiring if you’re always doing it for your job. With travel nursing, you may find yourself anywhere but home and having to work long days without much time for connecting with loved ones.
What’s most important is that you stay proactive by continuing to remain close with those who mean the most to you. If you’re a travel nurse without a lot of free time, it pays to learn a few tricks of the trade for staying connected with friends and family while you work to grow your career.
What Does a Travel Nurse Do
A travel nurse is tasked with caring for patients in medical facilities around the country, or even throughout the world. Travel nurses get to travel wherever they wish, provided there is a contract ready to be signed at a medical facility in need.
The problem many travel nurses face is that you’re usually on the road more often than not. When you work in healthcare travel nursing, venturing out to different cities, states, and maybe even other countries is part and parcel of the average nursing job.
In addition to making rotations, treating patients, collaborating with other medical professionals, and consulting with patients’ families, a travel nurse must be ready to acclimate quickly to new locales, wherever they may find themselves.
Generally speaking, a travel nurse is an RN (registered nurse) with an active license who is hired to work on a contract basis. As a travel nurse, you may be assigned to an area for around thirteen weeks to fill the staffing needs of hospitals, labs, clinics, and other medical facilities.
You’ll be faced with a myriad of job duties as a travel nurse such as patient exams, information delivery, medication management, research, and collaboration. Keep in mind that you may be assigned to an undesirable location or have to work the night shift while you’re away. Therefore, you must remain flexible and open to a variety of experiences.
If you are someone who loves spontaneity, meeting new people, as well as caring for the patients in your care, travel nursing might be the best fit for you.
It’s the loneliness that sometimes weighs on travel nurses, which is why connecting with loved ones is paramount if you hope to remain grounded and mentally healthy as you work toward being the best nurse you can be.
The Importance of Staying Connected
Travel nurses may be required to work long hours and be on their feet constantly. This is no different from the working requirements of a staffing nurse. Except travel nurses are away from home for weeks or months at a time. What you want to avoid is letting your health and wellness slip away from you.
Staying connected and having strong and healthy relationships with others is essential to your well-being. You never know when you’ll need a shoulder to lean on or someone who can offer you advice when you’re feeling lost. Social connections keep you healthy and help with stress reduction. Staying close to the ones you love gives you more chances to open up and share your feelings with those you trust. Close relationships also provide an opportunity to exchange emotional support, which is a two-way street. Being supportive is just as important as it is for others to be there for you.
Here are some ways you can stay connected as you grow used to living the travel nurse lifestyle.
5 Ways to Stay Connected as a Travel Nurse
One way travel nurses can stay connected with friends and family is to start a group text exchange. This is an easy and effective way to keep in touch that doesn’t take a whole lot of time out of your day.
While you may not be able to have your phone on you during a shift, you can catch up on the group texts during breaks or on your days off. Texting allows you to stay in the loop about the family business, upcoming plans, and other important news. Is your sister having a baby? A text exchange lets you know about it right away. Is the family planning a reunion in a few months? Now you can plan because you’ll know about the time and date the moment the text message comes in.
In addition to being cognizant of all that’s going on with your family, a text exchange keeps your name on everyone’s radar. You can use the thread you have going to quickly send a message about how much you miss everyone. You can even send photos and videos of the places you’re visiting.
At the very least, group texting is an easy way to avoid feeling lonely and isolated when visiting a new locale. If texting becomes too much or hard to keep up with, remember you can always pick up the phone and talk.
Use Social Media Platforms
Thanks to advances in technology, we now have access to a wide range of social platforms that help you stay connected with friends and family who may be located all over the world. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok include some honorable mentions.
Posting updates to your social media channels allow your friends and family to see first-hand what you’ve been up to. Your friends and family can also interact with your posts, or they can submit photos and videos of their own.
Seeing the faces of loved ones can go a long way toward helping you maintain strong connections with those you love, even though you may be miles away.
You don’t have to be in the same city to send gifts to friends and family. Maintain a calendar to keep up with birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates. When those times roll around, fire up your Amazon account and send the perfect gift to that special someone on your list. With two-day free shipping offered to Prime members, you can send presents galore to friends and family with a few clicks of your mouse or taps against your phone’s screen.
Amazon is only one example. You can also send groceries or even meals with sites like GrubHub and Walmart Grocery. This is an excellent way to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces and stay connected as you further your travel nursing career in the location of your choice.
Invite Others to Visit You
As a travel nurse, you’re not likely to be working every single day. You will have some days off and even weekends free. Therefore, why not fill up your off time by inviting friends and family to visit you?
Send an invitation far in advance to the loved ones you hope will visit so they have enough time to make the proper arrangements. It’ll be especially exciting if you’re in a big and fun city that you can explore and show off, like New York City, Chicago, Seattle, or Los Angeles.
While you’re becoming closer to your loved ones, you can also use the time to get used to your new location. You can see the sights and hit all the tourist spots. Make sure you do your homework before you start your contract. That allows you to make a list of all there is to see and do, including all the neat restaurants located throughout the city in question.
One of these mini-vacations will give you a chance to see your friends and family while becoming acclimated to your home away from home at the same time.
We’ve mentioned text messages and social media, but you don’t need technology to stay in touch. There is always the snail mail approach. Get out a pen and paper and collect plenty of stamps. That will allow you to send a few letters out explaining where you are and what you’re up to.
Imagine what a wonderful surprise it’ll be for someone you love to receive a hand-written letter from you describing your work and adventures. It’ll show you care and are making an effort to stay connected.
Another idea is to send a birthday or holiday card to your friends and family to greet them and provide a little cheer.
Additional Tips for Success
It’s not always easy to maintain connections with those you love when you’re busy and rushing around at your travel nursing job. It can be all too easy for the ones you care about the most to slip your mind while you’re away. You know that saying: out of sight, out of mind.
However, being away from home is no excuse to let your relationships fall by the wayside. What matters most and will be the most helpful for combating loneliness is that you make an effort to maintain your friendly and familial relationships.
Here’s another tip to help you keep those you cherish close to your heart. Set a few goals before you start on a new travel nursing contract about what you’ll do to maintain the strongest connections. It may mean staying up a little later or waking up earlier to complete some of these tasks.
Put dates and reminders on your calendar and phone so those texts, social posts, gifts, or snail mail letters don’t slip your mind.
Of course, you don’t always have to plan your actions. It only takes a moment to send a random text message or a funny meme the moment you see one online. These small tokens of appreciation let the other person know they’re top of mind and that you’re thinking about them while you’re out there traveling around.
Another idea is to start a travel blog where you can update your friends and family about what you’re doing all at once. Encourage your friends and family to check for new blog posts often and to leave comments and messages for you when they can.
Being a travel nurse can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. Although it’ll be an adjustment and can get lonely at times, there are practical ways to stay in touch. Use these ideas and tips as a starting point for getting you on the right track to remaining connected with loved ones while you’re on the job.
While it can be easy to feel like you’re alone sometimes as a travel nurse, all it takes is a single action or text message to instantly feel reconnected and reunited with those you care about the most. It’s all about putting forth extra effort while you’re away and not letting time or distance get between you and those you love. It may help to set expectations for how you’ll stay connected before you depart so your friends and family are prepared to put forth the extra effort as well.
Want more travel nursing tips, such as how to start your career if you’re thinking about becoming a travel nurse? Sign up with ProLink today.