Travel Nursing & Relationships: Can It Work?

 “Girl, you are doing it right. If I wasn’t married or had kids, I would travel too.”

Do it while you can and while you are young with no responsibilities.” 

“If I wasn’t in a relationship, I would have definitely done travel nursing, but I couldn’t do it at this point in my life.” 

These are a few of the responses that I get when I tell people that I am a travel nurse. It’s funny because the question that is asked before the responses is one that I usually get tired of hearing (lol). “Are you married? Do you have kids?” I swear, if I had a dollar for every time a patient, another nurse, family member, etc. asked me that, I would be rich.

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Romantic relationships are one of the main highlights of conversation, especially with millennials. Valentine’s Day has recently came and went so I decided to write a blog post about being a travel nurse and relationships. To make this possible, I was able to interview four different women from different relationship statuses (single, taken, engaged, married) and I wanted to share with you all their real life view on how they see romantic relationships - including their own - and what it really takes to make it work. This is not a tell-all guide to being a travel nurse and having a romantic relationship, but it does give you a glimpse. I want you to read what these four women have to say and then I will tell you my stance on this highly suggested and asked about topic in my line of work. Hope you enjoy and gain some insight. 

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1. N.B. RN, BSN - Age: 27

Relationship Status: Single

Q: You are single currently. As a travel nurse, would you like to be in a relationship with someone? Why or why not?

A: It’s complicated, haha. Part of me would love to settle down with a partner and live a relatively “normal” life, but there’s still so much out there for me to explore and a serious relationship would feel burdensome. I’ve been traveling for two years now, and although the thought has been on my mind lately to settle down somewhere permanently, I still have this itch to go more places and see more things.

Q: Do you think being in a relationship would hinder your experiences as a travel nurse?

 A: I think so. I’m the type of person to love really hard, and I want to be everything for my partner. I don’t think I could remain dedicated to a partner and satisfy my urge to travel nurse, too. They would likely have a career of their own, and I could never ask them to uproot their lives to fuel mine. And even if they stayed behind and we did long distance, being as sensitive as I am, I’d find myself missing their presence and distracted from my travels.

Q: The best part about being a single, travel nurse?

A: Being able to do what you want, when you want, how you want, without having to consider another person. I can take off and leave whenever I feel like it, and spend my money how I want without having to plan for “us”. I get to be totally selfish.

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2. B.C. LPN - Age: 23

Relationship Status: Taken

Q: How does your significant other feel about you being a travel nurse? Is he supportive?

A: My significant other is fine with me traveling but as time went by, the distance started to bother him. He expressed it, but he was still supportive.

Q: What is the hardest part about being a travel nurse and having a significant other?

A: The hardest part is being away from home, especially when you are a family-oriented person and keeping a trusting bond.

Q: What are 3 tips that you would give to other travel nurses in a relationship that they would need to know to keep their relationship happy, strong, and healthy?

A: Communication, honesty, and putting time aside for each other. 

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 3. A.B. RN, BSN, CCRN - Age: 26

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Relationship Status: Engaged

Q: Congratulations on the engagement!! Do you think it is harder to be a travel nurse now that you are taking this next step with your fiancé?

 A: I think being engaged has made it harder for me to pursue travel nursing. But it’s probably not for the reasons that seem more obvious. It’s not the changes to my relationship that have made it harder, that hasn’t changed. Leaving him behind has been the hardest thing for me since day 1. I am very attached to the security he gives me. I don’t mean physical security but emotional security. In him my heart has found it’s home. We went from living in the same house to living good distances apart. Leaving that has always been the hardest part for me. The ring doesn’t change that. What has changed is the fact that now we are trying to plan a wedding from different cities and on my last assignment different states. Y’all that’s not easy!!!

Q: How does your fiancé feel about you being a travel nurse?

A: My fiancé has supported my decision to travel from before I even talked to a recruiter. He has always supported me and has made sacrifices to do that. It’s not easy on him with me being away either. My dad stays at my house a few days out of the week for work reasons. So my fiancé and my dad are partly living together and that’s not the most comfortable situation for them. We also have two dogs. One usually travels with me but my 85 lbs German Shepard puppy can’t and the responsibility to care for him has fallen primarily on my fiancé. Plus he has to put up with me missing him all the time 🤷‍♀️ yet he still supports me and encourages my decisions. 

Q: After you get married, do you think you would continue travel nursing or find a permanent job?

A: Honestly I have no idea how long I will keep traveling. But it’s not just because of marriage. I know if I wanted to travel after being married he would support me hands down and we would make it work. I’ve been toying with the idea of leaving bedside nursing for a long time now. I probably will sometime in the coming years. However If I remain at bedside I will probably continue to travel because I love the flexibility and reduced politics in the travel nurse life. I may take a staff job to learn a new specialty though. Plus let’s be real the compensation (*paycheck*) is much better with travel as well.

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4. S.B. RN - Age: 41

Relationship Status: Married

Q: How long have you been a travel nurse while married?

A:  I have been a travel nurse going on 3 years now. I started traveling after I got married due to some financial hardship.

    Q: How does your husband feel about you being a travel nurse?

    A: He actually encouraged me to travel because it is something I always wanted to do.

    Q: Do you think that being a travel nurse puts a little stress on your marriage or does it bring y’all closer together?

    A: There has been a lot of stress in my marriage, traveling was just a way to avoid things. So because of that I am going through a divorce. However during my travel assignments I have seen marriages grow. I have even seen couples travel together. I hope my story won't discourage any one in a relationship from wanting to travel.

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    There you have it. Four nurses. Four different relationship statuses. Four perspectives.

    My stance?  

    I am single, y’all. Completely single. Yes, there may be a guy here and there that I take interest in and think that I want to pursue something more with, but I haven’t crossed paths yet with a man that will take me serious enough as a woman and that will accept my lifestyle. With that being said, I can just go when I please and not worry about anyone else’s feelings. Just like N.B, I can be selfish right now :)

    One day when I do settle down with my special someone, I know my traveling will definitely be a topic that we would discuss. When that time comes, I will be ready to make the decision to continue or stop because I am doing it all now without thinking of someone else. I applaud travel nurses in any capacity of a relationship (taken, engaged, married) because that is a HUGE sacrifice to be away from your partner that you love and care about so deeply. I do believe that distance makes the heart grow fonder though. What do y’all think? 

    Until next time, 

    Live life, love always, and don’t forget to smile, 

     

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