How to Handle Homesickness; The Story of a First Time Travel Nurse

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by Linda Gregory, BSN

Yup. Yessiree I did it! After years of dreaming of travel nurse positions, I took on my first assignment. It isn’t anywhere glamorous or really far away. In fact, it’s only 86.5 miles from my home. I believe nothing is a coincidence and with the way everything from my interview to finding housing fell into place, this assignment was meant to be.

I started at the end of June with great expectations. Let’s face it; according to many travel nurses and the travel nurse dedicated Facebook pages; this career path is the “cat’s meow”.


The one factor I didn’t even think about is the chance of becoming homesick; heart wrenching homesick. 
There are simple things that you take for granted until they are no longer around you. For instance, I miss my special spot on our couch, cooking in my beautiful kitchen, and relaxing on my front porch.

For the past 24 years, I have been a wife and a mother, which means I had someone with me 24/7. But now, although temporary, I am without my family. I miss my husband, my one child that is still at home and my fur babies. I am going to had to relearn the skill of being by myself.

 

Homesickness and loneliness among travel nurses is real. If you have felt lonely like I have, here’s how I have combated these feelings during my first travel assignment away from family. I hope it helps you as well.

 

Exercise

I love to walk in the new area I am staying in. It has the coolest old houses with some of the best landscaping I have seen. During my walks I take pictures of the landscaping and color schemes, then think what might work for my home or imagine what would work at my dream home.

 

Stay Entertained

I jam to music as I walk; it gives me peace and makes me feel good. Music, podcasts, whatever keeps you happy and motivated on your walks, go for it! If you are fan of audiobooks, here’s a recent blog post on essential audiobooks to listen to.

 

pizzaExplore the New Area

At least once a week I enjoy trying new restaurants that aren’t in my hometown. I have lived in nine states and remember each place by a particular favorite food or drink from that area. In NOLA, it’s their beignets and daiquiri drive thrus – yes, these exist. Jackson, MI I had the best fish fry at Penn’s restaurant. And Portland, OR is home to the best coffee huts EVER. If you are a foodie like me, adventure to find the best restaurants in your area.

 

Make a Call (Don’t Text) the Fam

Call your family instead of texting; it’s more personal and is good for your wellbeing. Texting is easy and perfect for a very quick check in when you have a break at work. But calling your family is a Godsend, especially when you have been away from them for a couple of weeks. I love to hear the voices of my husband and kids. Texting doesn’t lend itself to giving the same inflections of excitement as does calling someone.

 

take me home

The Homestretch

So, fellow travelers’, being homesick is real and working through it is difficult. With each assignment I will find new ways to remedy homesickness. Be confident that life will get easier with each assignment. Homesickness will continue to fade but may not entirely go away because let’s face it, “Toto, there is no place like home”. Is this daunting, scary and nerve-racking? You betcha! Is it doable? Absolutely and necessary!

 

As travel nurses, we need to help each other and have each other’s’ back. I am totally open to new suggestions, in fact, I encourage them. Just leave a comment under this post with your own tips. 

 

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