Travel Healthcare As A Pair: Getting Creative When The Market is Tricky
By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
My husband Keaton and I are lucky enough that we both have careers that allow us to travel as a pair. I am a registered nurse and he is a physical therapist, so we are both able to work 13-week contracts throughout the country. We have been doing this for about 18 months and have managed to find contracts together about half of the time we have traveled.
Even if you don’t have a spouse who can travel, many people choose to travel with a friend who is also a travel nurse. Not only does this help with loneliness on the road, but it cuts back on the cost of living and some of the work that has to be done when you move to each assignment.
If you travel as a pair it can be a little trickier to find jobs that work for both of you at the same time in the same area. In the past 18 months, we have gotten a little creative, but we have managed to make it work and have some great ideas for anyone else looking to travel as a pair.
Look for jobs in larger metropolitan areas.
- While some rural assignments offer big money based on location, the job concentration will be much lower. We have had much better luck if one person takes a job in a big city and then the second person works on finding something in that area.
- Plus, jobs are more likely to pop up for later start dates throughout the duration of the first person’s contract (more on that later).
Be willing to have a longer commute.
- Many large metropolitan cities come with the price of heavier traffic. Keaton and I have each had to commute up to 1 hour each way to find contracts in a similar area.
- Whether it is heavy traffic or long distance, commute time could very well be an issue you have come up when trying to find jobs in the same location.
Have a plan for if one person’s contract falls through.
- We always pick our housing based on one person’s income. Because contract cancellations are an unfortunate part of working as a traveler, we want to know we can survive even if one of us gets cut from a job.
- Similarly, if you travel with a friend, make sure and have a plan or a good chunk of savings in case you lose your job while on location.
Look for start dates no more than 3-4 weeks out.
- A few times one of us has jumped on a great-paying contract early only to find the market drying up for the other person. The travel market is so hard to predict, so you may not be able to guarantee jobs for both individuals if you look too far in advance.
- For example, the Phoenix market was great back in the fall, but by the time we got here in the winter, physical therapy jobs for my husband had dried up and he has had to get a little creative with finding work. Which brings me to my next point…
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for jobs.
- Even if you can’t find a contract, that doesn’t mean there aren’t facilities in need nearby. I was able to sign up for per diem flu shot clinics in Georgia, and my husband found a per diem agency locally in Phoenix. Many hospitals choose to use local agencies first, so you may have luck reaching out to them directly once you are in town.
- Some places will even hire you directly knowing you’re short term because ultimately it saves them more money than hiring a traveler through a company.
While traveling with a friend or spouse may take a little more leg work, it sure is nice when you get hit with a little bit of homesickness or loneliness. Knowing you have a roommate or companion to lean on is always a great source of comfort when dealing with the stress of changing jobs and adjusting to a new floor.
Be sure to be open and honest with your recruiter about your goals are if you are traveling as a pair. It is even more beneficial if you share a recruiter, but for many companies that won’t be possible if you are different professions or specialties. Also, keep in mind my previous advice about working with more than one company, as it will be especially helpful if you need to try and match specific locations with your travel partner.
Alex McCoy currently works as a pediatric travel nurse. She has a passion for health and fitness, which led her to start Fit Travel Life in 2016. She travels with her husband, their cat Autumn and their dog, Summer. Alex enjoys hiking, lifting weights, and trying the best local coffee and wine.
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