Ask a Travel Nurse: How do you disconnect from home yet maintain relationships while travel nursing?
Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I am an RN working in Toronto, Canada. Travelling has always been one of my interests, however I am too attached to my home in Toronto and everything I have become familiar with. How did you learn how to disconnect but maintain relationships along the way while traveling?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
For me, your question is a simple one to answer. However, I know that giving up that with which someone has become accustomed can never be easy. But the first step is obviously a commitment to get out and actually do it!! After that, there are a few things that can help you make the transition.
I used to live in Ohio, which was tolerable during the summer months, but come winter, I was headed for warmer ground. I spoke with my manager and the HR department in the hospital where I did most of my shifts and they agreed to keep me on the payroll, as per diem status, without mandating a certain amount of shifts that I work each month. So it was easy for me to go do a 13-week assignment and then head back home and pick up work once again.
By limiting yourself to an assignment here and there, it’s sort of like just taking an extended vacation every so often.
If you do not have such an understanding manager or HR department, then you could transition to per diem or registry work. With this type of work, you may not be mandated any set amount of shifts and could be gone for long periods, but still resume work upon returning home.
You can also start with an assignment near home if you like. Then there is the possibility of returning home to see family and friends on your days off. As you grow more comfortable, you can start enjoying adventures farther and farther away from home.
To stay in touch while on the road, you now have access to so much more technology than when I started traveling. Nowadays, you can use a smartphone to send emails, texts, and even chat face to face in real time via Skype. This helps keep your friends close when you are away on assignment.
Your true friends will still be there when you return and you’re bound to make new ones in your travels. I do caution people that they MUST be able to have fun by themselves because not every assignment will be the same and there will be ones where you do not hang with anyone from work.
I have had assignments where I was doing something just about every week with someone from work and then there were assignments where I never saw a single co-worker outside of the hospital. When the latter happens, you can’t sit in your apartment all day long on your days off, you have to have the ability to go make your own fun and explore the area.
Each person will be different in the way they adapt to travel nursing. Some learn to love it, some absolutely hate it. You do need a strong support system for when things get tough on the road and it seems you have no one to talk to. But even if you do experience a bad assignment, the great thing is that you’ve likely only committed three months of your time.
I hope this answered your question and if you are looking at travel in the states, let me know and I can hook you up with a recruiter of mine that really knows the ins and outs of the Canadian/US work visas and requirements for working in the states.