Travel nursing is a rewarding, exciting career, but it can be hard to leave your loved ones behind as you head off on your next adventure. What’s more, you’re bound to make new friends as you travel from place to place. It’s easy to bond with other travel nurses since you share some important things in common – your love of travel and nursing!
If you’re concerned that your relationships may suffer because you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, a few simple strategies can help you maintain those connections – and even strengthen them. Here’s how.
Schedule time to connect
With your busy schedule (working, exploring the area where you’re assigned, and keeping healthy and fit), it can be hard to find time to nurture and maintain relationships. Your schedule may also be unpredictable, making it hard to connect with family and friends on a regular basis.
By scheduling time to talk, you can avoid the hassle of playing phone tag or talking to someone’s voicemail rather than your loved one. Here are some additional tips.
- Try using a shared calendar app (such as Google Calendar) to schedule talk time with loved ones. This way, they’ll know when to expect your call and can make sure they’ve cleared their schedule ahead of time.
- Schedule recurring days and times. If you make chatting with your chums a habit, it becomes easier for everyone.
- Keep the lines of communication open and try to maintain contact on a regular basis. It’s easy to let your work responsibilities and general busyness take precedence but carving out time to speak with your loved ones even occasionally can do wonders for your relationships.
We are social creatures, and we’re wired to respond to nonverbal communication. It’s hard to pick up on those if you can’t see the person with whom you are speaking. You would probably rather share a laugh while looking at your friend’s face, for example, than just hear them over the phone. Being able to see your loved ones can provide you with a much needed psychological and emotional boost, and video chat makes us feel closer to others, even when we can’t physically be together.
Fortunately, there are more options than ever for video chat. Some of the most popular (and free) are Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime.
Share your travel photos and videos
What better way to stay close to your loved ones than by sharing your adventures with them? The options for sharing videos and photos are virtually unlimited. Here are some of the best options for both storing and sharing your memories.
- Google photos
- Amazon Prime photos
- Apple iCloud
Another option is to create photo books for yourself and/ or your loved ones. You can include pictures of your travels, or use photos of you and your loved ones together to look at when you’re feeling far from home.
Go a bit old fashioned
Hand-written letters are becoming increasingly rare, but many people still cherish them. If you’ve got the time and motivation, this can be a fun way to keep in touch. See if you can write one letter per month, for example. You can even include drawings, printed photos, or other personal touches for your loved ones to enjoy.
Connect with other travel nurses
From websites to meetups, there are many opportunities to spend time getting to know other travel nurses, travel LPNs, and travel CNAs. Here are some of the best options.
- Meetup offers specific groups for nurses by location
- Facebook groups provide virtual and in-person social groups for travel nurses.
- Check the website and forums at the facility where you’re assigned. There may be opportunities to socialize posted.
Remember to be smart and practice common sense when using any of these options. Always meet in public places and don’t do anything or go anywhere that makes you uncomfortable.
Loneliness can affect anyone, and you may be especially prone when you’re far from home and those you love most. Keeping in touch is a great way to lessen the effects of loneliness, as is forming new bonds with coworkers or neighbors. You can even choose assignments and travel with another nurse. (Many agencies even offer bonuses for bringing along a friend!)
It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on your mental health. If you start to notice symptoms of depression or other more serious conditions, seek help right away from a doctor or other qualified mental health professional. Many people experience these issues and help is available!
Bring your loved ones along
The best way to strengthen your relationships while travel nursing is, of course, to bring your loved ones along! Many agencies are more than willing to accommodate children, spouses, and even pets. A good travel nursing agency will work with you to make sure you have adequate housing for any family members you bring along.