Travel Nurses are Leaving the Spouse at Home

A lot of travel agencies allow nurses to travel across the country on assignment while bringing their spouses, however some travel nurses are leaving the spouse at home and to travel alone.

The Gypsy Nurse conducted a survey in July with nurses who travel without their spouses.

travel nurse leaving SpouseSeveral of the nurses who took part in the survey have been married for more than 15 years to their current spouse before taking on a travel nurse assignment.  For a couple nurses, they were on their first or second assignment away from their spouse while others have traveled on and off from 2 to 8 years.

“We have skype dates where we watch tv together, dinner together and even shop together,” said Lorri R.

There are many different reasons nurses decide to travel. Some of the various answers received in the survey include my spouse runs a german shepard kennel and builds classic cars, financial reasons, job layoffs, children in college, wanting more experience, “itchy feet,” and the money was too good to give up.

A family decision was why Sandi M. started traveling to New Mexico where she had family members that she did not know; including her sister that she had not seen in 9 years and a niece. “I am going to have a hard time leaving the family I have gotten to know here.” she said.

What are a spouse’s thoughts to travel nursing?

The Gypsy Nurse asked! Several stated their spouses are good and comfortable with it. One travel nurse felt her relationship with her spouse grew closer after her first assignment. “As long as he can visit he is okay, we didn’t realize how much we depend on each other with the kids,” said Sandi A. However, some were not so fond of their spouse being away from home. Audrey R. said, “My husband wishes I could find something that would make me equally as happy at home.”

Family and friends sometimes question one’s decision to try travel nursing.

One nurse tells The Gypsy Nurse, her family thinks she is crazy but she handles the situation by showing them pictures of all the places she has traveled. My close friends and family know everything and I have everyone’s support, said Laura H. Lori M. said family and friends don’t question her as much anymore as they can see her and her spouse are making it work as a family.

Several nurses commented on how travel nursing has affected their relationships.

“The major thing that I would add it that there has to be absolute trust. A jealous marriage would not stand up to this. We are still a team, just a team with different lives. I really think in some ways it has kept us interested in each other,” said Lorri R.

Laura H. said, “They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, I know this has been true for me and mine.”

At the end of the survey, The Gypsy Nurse asked for any words of advice. “Enjoy your life while you can, explore the world and share what you have seen. Traveling should be on everyone’s bucket list,’ said Laura H.

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Angela Hageman

Angela Hageman, MSN, RN, CNL, orginally from Catlin, Illinois. Angela obtained her bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Illinois University in 1995. She worked for several years as a newspaper reporter for a suburban newspaper group in the Chicago suburbs. Inspired by events in her life, she decided it was time for a change and entered the nursing field. She completed her bachelor's degree in nursing at Lakeview College of Nursing in 2006 and her master's degree in nursing from Elmhurst College as wekk as Clinical Nurse Leadership certification in 2011. After working as a neurology nurse for several years, in April 2012, Angela began her career as a travel nurse. Angela travels with her favorite travel companion and best friend Harley the dachshund. She began writing for the Gypsy nurse in 2013.

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5 Responses to Travel Nurses are Leaving the Spouse at Home

  1. Mary Jo mcmann says:

    Wonderful Angela I liked this. Interesting. Please keep writing.

  2. Donna (Mom) says:

    Great article, Angela. It has been a long time since you have done this kind of writing. Pleased to see that you haven’t lost the “touch” or maybe the “pen.” Love you, Mom

  3. Joyce says:

    I agree that distance makes the heart grow fonder.
    Communicating with your spouse and agreeing that it’s OK ,is the most important aspect of this job.
    The money is good and can pay off a lot of debts.
    A debt free marriage is a good marriage.

  4. Mary-Ellen Voth says:

    Until I met some of the other travel nurses who also fly solo, I thought I was the only one. I was so relieved to find out that I was normal…well sort of. I have been traveling by myself for 6 years. My husband was angry initially but once he came to visit me on assignment, he grew to accept it and even likes it now. I believe our marriage is stronger now. Our grandkids even got a trip to Disneyland out of it and will again this year. Thanks for writing what is real.

  5. Katy Katz says:

    These are some great insights for those considering travel nursing but are worried about leaving a spouse at home. A few days away always seems harder in anticipation of it then in actuality. And it really is true what they say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

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