You might have questioned whether it was even possible to take a travel nursing assignment with a newborn. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it! The real question you must answer for yourself is whether this is something you’d like to undertake and if you’ll enjoy traveling with your baby?
As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to earn more while having your housing included as a benefit. This means it’s likely only one person has to work while the second can stay home with the infant, completely negating childcare costs and ensuring that one parent is always with the baby. If dad or mom can handle being a stay-at-home parent, then instead of working 40 hours a week at a job, they may spend the time with your newborn. This can honestly be challenging, as it is for any new parent. Additionally, being far from supportive family members and finding stable healthcare can be disadvantages. The advantages include your ability to continue to see the country, travel and make more money than you could if you were home.
Before accepting an assignment, remember that most pediatricians recommend infants do not travel on a plane until they’re six months old in order to ensure their immune system is strong enough to handle the additional germs on the plane. If you’re traveling when your baby is 1 to 2 months old, it may be best to travel by car or train.
Packing presents an additional challenge. Where before you might have had packing down to a science and could get everything you needed into the car, with a baby you may find you need more space or a U-Haul to fit everything you need. Try to keep things as minimal as possible. For instance, try to pare down what you bring for yourself and in addition to clothing for your baby, use a pack and play for a crib, a lightweight umbrella stroller, a high chair that straps into a chair instead of a standalone and small toys and books. Bring just enough diapers and wipes to get you through the first week because those are things you can purchase at your destination. Keep in mind that if you’re towing a trailer, this will reduce your gas mileage and make the whole road trip a little more complicated.
Traveling to and from your assignment will also be different. Babies like to eat every 2 to 4 hours, so you’ll be stopping to feed, change diapers and generally cuddle for a little bit. Try to get more things done with each stop. For instance, gas up the car and grab lunch when you’re stopping to feed and change the baby.
The location you choose may also change as you are traveling with a newborn. Safety becomes a bigger concern than if you are traveling alone. Finding housing in neighborhoods with low crime rates and ensuring your travel to and from the hospital is safer are likely changes you’ll want to make. The dynamics of your housing assignment may also change.
Most companies will provide a one-bedroom apartment, which works best when it’s just you or you and your spouse. But for some, with an infant, they prefer having a second bedroom. You might have to pay an extra fee each month for that or find your own housing. Some parents enjoy having their newborn in their bedroom in the pack and play or even co-sleep with them. What you choose must work best for your family. Consider looking for housing near walking trails or areas where pushing the stroller is easier since your newborn needs fresh air and sunshine as much as you do.
One of the benefits of traveling with a newborn is if you have extended family living out of state. Suddenly, you’re able to take an assignment where grandma and grandpa or aunts and uncles can visit with your newborn for an extended period and you have a family you know and trust.
Try to get as many of your newborn’s check-ups done as you pass through your hometown as possible and scope out the landscape in your new city to find the best medical care options in case you need emergency care. Although the working partner may have been out and about all week at work, it’s important to make a point to get out of the house on the caregiver’s days off. This reduces their risk of burnout or feeling like they’re trapped in your home.
Traveling with an infant is possible and it can even be a lot of fun. It does add a few challenges and requires more planning, but the financial and travel pay off may make it worth it. At Amare Medical Staffing, we are committed to providing our hospitals and staff with the best experience possible. Contact our recruiters today and we’ll help you find your perfect assignment.