For many healthcare professionals, travel nursing seems like the ultimate dream job: You get to see all the wonderful landscapes the country has to offer, meet new people, work in different environments and gain exciting life experiences. However, some nurses hesitate to go this route, wondering whether this career adventure would put other life goals like building a family on hold. According to Missi Cyphert, a registered nurse from Morgantown, West Virginia, raising kids on the road is not only feasible, but the arrangement also proved to be a saving grace for her family. Discover Missi’s story:
“There was no way I would be able to support my family.”
Travel nursing: A solution to a family crisis
In an interview, Missi explained that she has been a travel nurse since April 2015 when she learned her husband, Jeremy, had lost his job as a full-time manager at a pharmaceutical company.
“My heart dropped,” she said. “With my part-time nursing salary, there was no way I would be able to afford two car payments, the house payments, pay for utilities and support my family with basic essentials.”
Missi, who had worked about 24 hours a week as a nurse in a trauma/stroke center in Morgantown, West Virginia, knew she needed to take her career on a new path to support her, Jeremy and their four children. That’s when she called Aureus Medical.
Though Missi was sad to leave behind her kids, husband and extended family for her first assignment in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, her account manager, Aaron Meline, relieved some of the pressure. He ensured Missi didn’t overlook any details, streamlined the process for her to obtain a North Carolina RN license and made certain she had all the necessary documents.
After a month of living away from her kids and husband, Missi and Jeremy decided their family would never separate again. While this would keep the family close, it would also bring new challenges.
An adjustment for everyone
In June 2015, Jeremy and their four kids, ages 1, 3, 4 and 6 at the time, joined Missi in North Carolina. Together, they lived rent- and utility-free while Missi worked 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts at her new assignment and Jeremy was a stay-at-home dad. This arrangement was the best method for handling the transition, but the move presented a few unexpected hurdles, especially for schooling.
After going through the enrollment process and explaining the temporary address situation to the board of education, Jeremy and Missi came to find that schools were ranked much differently in North Carolina than West Virginia. The schools were ranked on a 1 to 10 scale based on the students’ test scores. While their daughter, Izabella, was excited about starting school, Melissa and Jeremy were working to move her from a level 3 school to a higher-rated one.
“In West Virginia, you have one school to go to and everyone was an equal,” she explained. “It was not like that here.”
Additionally, they wanted to enroll their son Marcus in a pre-K program, but in North Carolina, parents must fund this move. Between the time-consuming paperwork and the involved course of action for switching programs between moves, Missi and Jeremy ultimately took Marcus out of pre-K after four weeks. This process highlighted a key issue for travel nurses taking along school-aged children. You may not know state-by-state differences until they present themselves in real-life situations. Now, the Cypherts know to look closely at education systems with each move.
Missi’s advice for other travel nurses
Traveling with children comes with certain obstacles, but with the timing and economic situation, this arrangement worked best for the Cyphert family. Plus, Missi has learned a lot along the way. For example, Missi and Jeremy discovered that with Aureus Medical, travel nurses don’t have to sacrifice standards. They can find a safe, family-oriented community in an area that has a high demand for nurses and meets the Cypherts’ lifestyle needs.
Currently, the family is looking for a new assignment where the kids can have access to plenty of fun summer activities, perhaps near a beach or amusement park. When fall rolls around, however, Missi stressed that quality education is her No. 1 priority. While many travel nurses with kids opt to home-school, Missi and Jeremy still want to go with the public school route as long as it’s feasible.
According to Missi, travel nursing with kids isn’t a permanent solution, but it’s often a necessary move for healthcare professionals.
“Traveling nursing with children is becoming a necessity due to the benefits of housing and the declining economy,” she noted.
Missi explained that the situation would be easier with perhaps one child who did not need to attend school yet. Meanwhile, having her husband at home has been great, as finding a reliable babysitter in a new area can be challenging.
For now, though, her and Jeremy are making it work. Missi plans to further her education in Nursing Informatics, and the couple wants to move to an area where job opportunities may be available for Jeremy.
“Traveling as a whole has totally changed our way of life, but we are learning to accept it as a lifestyle,” Missi said.