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Traveling with a Travel Nurse: Spouse/Family Perspective

April 17, 2013

Making the decision to be a travel nurse involves many different factors. One of the most important, and most worried about, is often how your husband/wife will be impacted by this career choice. Married for eight years when they decided to travel, Brad and Stasha Crawford faced that same decision. They were living in Ohio with their own home and full-time jobs. That all changed when Stasha decided that she wanted to take her nursing career on the road. Read on to see the perspective Brad gave to Fastaff on traveling with a travel nurse:

How did it come up that Stasha wanted to be a travel nurse? How did you handle the news at first?

When Stasha decided she wanted to go back to school to get her RN degree, travel nursing was always a part of the plan from the beginning. Stasha had an aunt that traveled through the Air Force and she always thought it sounded like a lot of fun. It just so happened that a friend of mine at work had a sister that was a traveler. I was telling him that we were considering it and he had nothing but good things to say about her experience. He explained how it worked, the way he understood it, and it really sparked our interest. We spent a lot of time researching and learning how the process worked and if we would be able to do it financially with me not working. Once we crunched the numbers and realized the financial impacts would be minimal, it really was a no-brainer and we began getting things in order to make it happen.

How did you deal with the uncertainty of leaving both your home and full-time job and committing to traveling?

The fear of the unknown and leaving everything and everyone we knew behind really was the biggest road block for us. We lived in a great community close to family, we really enjoyed our jobs and had a great group of friends. When we told everyone about our plans, we got a mixed bag of reactions. A lot of people wanted us to go for it and were jealous of our opportunity. But, as you can imagine, many were afraid for us and didn’t want us to go. It really came to a head when I was offered a promotion at work that would require me to go back to school. It was then that we sat down and really went over the pros and cons and decided to go for it. We really just decided the fear of looking back years from now and regretting our decision to stay was bigger than the fear of the unknown. Life really is too short to not take chances and, looking back, we truly believe it was one of the best decisions of our marriage.

What was important to you as a spouse traveling to different locations? What sort of research did you do in contrast to Stasha?

When we travel to a new location, Stasha and I approach it from completely different angles. My first concern is her safety so the very first thing I check when she is offered a job are the crime rates for the area around the hospital. Coming from a small town in Ohio, we try to find locations that are similar in size and safety because we know if we aren’t comfortable with the area we won’t have a good experience. Once we decide it is safe, I try to find out what there is to do in the area. We love to hike and mountain bike so I like to find trails and parks nearby that will give us a chance to do those things. I also try to find something different at each location so we can experience something new. The whole point of our travels is to have new adventures and possibly find an area we might like to settle in one day. It makes no sense for us to take assignments that don’t give us that opportunity.

What did you do to keep yourself occupied while Stasha was working as a travel nurse?

I had an idea from the beginning that I would be able to find something online to occupy my time. The internet offers so many opportunities for traveling professionals and I was excited to explore all of those opportunities. My first project was creating, a website designed to help traveling nurses and their spouses. It was a big adjustment and there was a steep learning curve, but it has been a lot of fun and so much more fulfilling than my previous full-time job. I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface of what the Internet has to offer though, so I am excited to continue exploring other possibilities. I am hoping it leads to a new career, even after we decide to settle down, that would have been much harder to pursue if we had not decided to travel.

Other tips that spouses of travelers should know?

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the priority needs to remain focused on the person signing the travel contracts. I realize that my needs come second to my wife’s because she is the one that needs to be happy with the hospital and feel comfortable while she works at her assignment. I feel that it’s also important to take advantage of the situation while it lasts. This is a great opportunity to explore an online career or hobby and there are so many ways to do that. It really goes back to the idea that life is too short. Be adventurous and try something new.

Want to read Stasha's point-of-view? Check out Travel Nurse Perspective: Traveling with your husband/wife

As the husband of a travel nurse, Brad Crawford sees the travel nursing experience from a different perspective. While his wife, Stasha, focuses more on the “nursing” aspect, Brad is more concerned with things like the crime rate, what the weather is like, and what sort of fun things there will be nearby. Together they have created, a website designed to combine much of the info a travel nurse needs in one place.

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