Sure, being a married travel nurse has its challenges, but it’s certainly not without its advantages as well. In fact, many aspects of travel nursing actually help you build a healthy, lasting relationship. In this article, two travel nurses, Deborah Morton (cardiopulmonary progressive care) and Krista Gurganious (home health), share six ways the travel nurse lifestyle has enhanced their relationships.
1. Physically closer
Krista met her husband online. To be with him while they were dating, she had to take a plane once a month to North Carolina. Becoming a travel nurse was a way for her to be physically closer to a relationship that had always relied on long-distance commuting. Krista took a travel nursing assignment in North Carolina and the rest is history. Now, when clients ask Krista why she came to North Carolina she says, “Well, I fell in love.”
2. Financial support
For Deborah, becoming a travel nurse was the best way for her to support her husband in pursuing his career goals. She said, “My husband decided to go to school. The first semester, he took on two jobs and he went to school full time and he still got on honor roll, did honor society, and received two awards.” But his hard work wasn’t without sacrifice. “It killed him,” she said. So Deborah decided she needed to do something. “I was like, that’s it. I’m going to go be a travel nurse and support the family.” As Deborah described it, the biggest advantage to travel nursing has actually been the opportunity to give her husband the support he needs to pursue his career goals.
3. Needed balance
Coming from different backgrounds can be a challenge in many relationships, but travel nursing can help couples balance both their needs. This was the case for Deborah’s marriage. She grew up in a military family, who traveled so often it wasn’t even a shock when they only stayed at one location for three days before her dad was transferred back to Vietnam.
Her spouse had a different experience growing up. “My husband lived within a mile of where he was born all his life. He’s not really into this moving around business.” Being a travel nurse lets her husband stay at their home base while Deborah continues to have the opportunity to experience new places. “I go stir crazy, so travel nursing provides that movement for me.”
4. Time together
For Deborah, the biggest challenge of being a married travel nurse is “finding the time to be with each other.” So, she uses the flexibility of her job to her advantage, building time off right into her contract. Speaking of her experience with RNnetwork, she says, “They’re very accommodating,” helping her to arrange her days off in big blocks at the beginning of one week and the end of the next so she can maximize her time spent with her spouse. How do they use those big chunks of time off? Traveling around the world seeing their favorite bands play.
“This last weekend we had tickets to see the Rolling Stones,” she boasts. “Monday night we had tickets to see Iron Maiden in Charlotte, North Carolina.” They saw Ozzy Osbourne in Syracuse, New York, and even visited Geneva, Switzerland to see Metallica. “It was amazing!”
For Krista, the facility that she works with recognizes how important her time off means to her. When they asked her to start training nurses, they compensated her with extra time off. “That is compensation,” she says. “I’d rather have a day off because that gives me an extra day with my hubby.”
For Deborah, being married actually enhances her travel experience. “I know that there’s somebody at home, there’s stability,” she says. She knows if she ever needs support, she has someone who will make the effort to be there for her, no matter the distance. Her husband has been known to jump on a plane to see her — even if it’s for a short time.
But it’s not just about grand gestures. Deborah appreciates support in the small things like laundry. “I would bring my laundry home and it would be brought in and I would just put it in front of the washer and when I got ready to leave it was all clean and folded. It’s amazing.”
6. Intentional connection
At the end of the day, travel nursing does provide some unique challenges to a relationship, but they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In many cases, these challenges can actually strengthen a marriage. For example, rather than getting stuck in the habitual routines of life and relationships, the lifestyle of travel nursing forces couples to be intentional. In other words, rather than talking to each other out of habit, couples have to intentionally make time for each other. Krista says, “We talk a lot on the phone when we wake up in the morning. My first phone call is to him and we communicate.”
Honestly, these are just a few of the ways being a married travel nurse can be an advantage to your relationship! What do you do to strengthen your relationships while on assignment? Share your tips in the comments below.