Travel nursing has many perks for those who decide this opportunity aligns with them. The thought of traveling for work is a daydream for many. This career has expanded not only my nursing skills but my outlook on life. The chance to see new cultures, experience new ways of living, and see some of the most beautiful sights in the world has been such a blessing.
This career, however, does have its downfalls. Maintaining relationships, new and old, while on the road is sure to be a challenge. Every travel nurse will likely experience this hardship while on assignment. Whether it’s losing touch with people from home, or leaving new people that you just met, this is ground you'll cover. Although, this is definitely not easy, there's ways to minimize how much the long-distance affects relationships. Below are some tips on how I stay connected with the ones I love while on the road.
Facetime is Your Friend
More than ever before, technology has given us the resources to stay in touch with people at the click of a button. When you Facetime someone, you're basically hanging out digitally. If you can't be there physically, this is the next best thing. I enjoy Facetiming my loved ones and find the “quality time” more satisfying than calls. It makes me happy to call people I miss and being able to see their faces. If you have the option between a call and Facetime, choose the more personable one, Facetime is your friend!
This is another blessing thanks to technology. Social media can be used in many positive ways like staying connected. We often convince ourselves that we “don't have enough time” to call people, and while this may be true, we make time to scroll through social media — I'm guilty of this! While you're scrolling, make a conscious effort to check in on the ones you love. Like their picture, comment on their feed, or even send them a “thinking of you message”. Another cheesy option is to post a picture of the person you're thinking about, with some reminiscing text. They are guaranteed to be grateful and it's a thoughtful way to say “I miss you” quickly and digitally.
Plan Gaps for Vacation
One of the many perks of travel nursing is the ability to set up time off. If you know you need to see familiar faces every three months, plan a vacation to visit people you miss. It's very possible to take time off during assignments and certainly between assignments. Whatever it is that you need to be content, do that. Relations between friends and family are tough on the road, so don't go too long without real time together. There is no shame in flying home or planning a getaway with friends every two months. Ultimately you should do whatever you need to do to maintain your relationships and your own piece of mind.
This may sound silly or simple as a suggestion, but make new friends! The best way to beat loneliness is to surround yourself with people. Being on the road can be hard, especially for the first few weeks at a new place. This is usually when I miss people the most because I haven't made new friends at the new assignment and don't have much going on besides work. The key to beating this cycle is to stay active and focus on all the awesome people you're going to meet in the upcoming months. Engage in new things, go to new places, literally try to meet people and before you know it, you'll be on a whole new scene.
If your mind and heart are in the right place, maintaining relationships will be a lot easier — I promise. Try not to focus on the negative vibes, because that will only enhance them. You've got to avoid “slumps” and stay positive. Sometimes, this is as easy as to stay busy, but other times you're going to have to dig deep. Try not to blame other people for the loss of connection or focus on the disconnect. Try to be upbeat and understanding. As long as there is a strong foundation in the relationship, distance typically doesn't change things all that much. Yes, of course, we will miss people and feel those emotions strongly, but missing people doesn't have to turn into a negative feeling. The loss and disconnect you feel is also a sign of your appreciation for them in your life and something as simple as creating that visualization can have a strong positive effect on your happiness. Besides, people want to be around happy people, so one would reason, actively trying to be happy is a sure way to surround yourself with new friends. Remember, this is a great opportunity and likely to be one of your favorite jobs, but it comes with challenges and sacrifices. Often we spend time alone and with new people versus our old relationships, but this difficulty, like all, is manageable with consideration, conscious efforts, and a little upbeat spirit!