Being a traveling healthcare professional is fun. It’s exhilarating. It changes lives. It puts people out of their comfort zone. It opens up minds. It creates lifelong friendships. It presents a multitude of unimaginable adventures. But overtime, it can lead to a lack of an overall sense of belonging and even accelerate burnout.
After 4 years of travel nursing, I decided it was finally time for me to stay in one place for a bit, have a stable long term job, and buy a house. For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to list some reasons that you as a traveling healthcare professional should be looking for if you’re wondering: should I plant some roots?
You miss the idea of owning things.
Do you ever think you’d care about a couch again? Do you wish you could upgrade your small little succulent to a gorgeous potted plant or two? Ever have the urge to mow the lawn and maintain a garden? Even if this seems minor, you deserve that stability if you’ve started missing it!
You are craving a more permanent routine.
Although it is manageable to get a routine in the span of 13 weeks, it can be exhausting starting over with each assignment. Sometimes happiness in life can stem from having a permanent (or semi permanent) nail salon, hair salon, gym, rec league, dog park or grocery store.
You want to grow your career, change your career, or continue in education.
It is certainly possible to continue with education as a travel nurse, but it is ok to consider staying permanent while restarting school! Starting at a new job so frequently can be mentally exhausting and could affect how you learn. Additionally, if you want to climb the ladder in your field or completely change your specialty, you need to consider staying somewhere long term and gaining experience to achieve your goal.
You’re wanting to invest in property
Owning a house is usually one of the first big investments a person has. It is a time consuming but rewarding endeavor (I’m newly going through this right now), and one where you’d most likely need to remain in one place for a bit. A house doesn’t have to tie you down, you can always rent it out to fellow travelers. As travel nurses, we know the market for temporary housing better than most people. Go get you that supplemental income!
You want to market and build connections
Even though we have the MedVenture App at the touch of our fingertips to meet other traveling healthcare professionals, it can be difficult to connect with people in order to advance your career if you are always moving. Relationships matter, connections matter, even in a field where you will always have a job. If you know a community or city you really could see yourself in long term, you should consider staying there in order to build meaningful career relationships for the future!
You’re starting to miss family and friends more and more.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going home again after traveling, to regain your sense of community and belonging. Even if you do not settle back into where you’re from, developing more of a permanent group of friends could serve you as strong as family does.
You’re feeling more anxious after each assignment instead of less anxious.
As you become an experienced traveling healthcare professional, you should feel more confident in your ability to hit the ground running, adapt, and thrive in an environment with little to no preparation. But for me, I hit the top of the bell curve and started to descend down feeling more anxious with each contract. That's when I knew it was important for me to choose one place and stay there. It’s ok to take a break. These feelings are valid and they’re important.
You are feeling lonely.
Loneliness is unfortunately a common side effect of traveling as frequently as every 13 weeks. But if it is getting in the way of your well being, that is a sign to take a break from the traveling lifestyle.
It’s starting to affect your mental health.
If you’re feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression brought on by the uncertainty and change of traveling, it may be time to take a break. Sometimes our bodies start to resist change so much that it manifests physically and mentally. It is ok to remain in one place for a bit to take care of yourself.
Remember, you jumped into traveling once before, you can always do it again. Travel contracts will always be there waiting for you should you decide to come back. That is the beauty of the healthcare field, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. That can mean staying in one job or one location you love and know really well, that fills your cup, and gives you a sense of community. Or it can be hitting the ground running in a place you know nothing about in order to help a hospital in need, explore a new location, and make that money. I know that staying in one place has really been what I’ve needed after living a nomadic lifestyle for so long. For now, I’m enjoying staying in one place. I've picked up PRN jobs only so that if I want to, I can jump back into a contract here or there and still keep my more permanent jobs. The choice is and will always be yours. Enjoy that freedom and happy job hunting!
Written By: Kayla Hussen, Operating PRN Nurse