Romance for Travel Nurses

Romance for Travel Nurses

Heart awareness for Americans is this month, and while in our last post we did a deep dive into facts, risk factors, and health tips for travel clinicians, we left untouched another topic of the heart: romance.

Let me preface this entire article first by clearly stating that not every travel nurse is looking for a forever love. Romance, lust, love, and companionship are indisputably complex topics and we each have our own priorities, desires, needs, and expectations concerning the metaphysical matters of the heart.

With those thoughts in mind, the intention for this article is to provide perspective, pro travel nursing tips, and perhaps even some guidance on navigating those types of relationships with an open mind, all while navigating your chosen path as a travel nurse.

How Do Travel Nurses Find Dates/Love?

The dating world has endured a radical transformation over the last decade, and while change can be scary and challenging even to travel nurses who often thrive on new challenges, the reality is those transformations in the dating world have the benefit of creating opportunities.

  • Online Dating – Once upon a time the most common introduction for people to dating partners was through mutual friends. This method, while still employed, is challenging for those of us constantly traveling from one place to another. Online dating was once a “how did you two meet?” answer that many people cringed away from but is now the leading source for dating among people in our country according to Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld. And no, that’s not just lip service, research shows that in 2021 more than 44 million people in the US used online dating services, and more than half of them did it from the convenience of their smartphones.

  • Community Events – Some traveling clinicians focus on the tourism aspect of their job, but for those travelers who want to learn about the community and culture, community events are an excellent strategy. Community events have the benefit of giving you a flavor of fun while you learn and watch what makes the community tick, all while affording you the opportunity to meet other singles.

  • Church – Church has long had a role in providing a space for people to meet future partners. To that end, for traveling clinicians who prioritize their faith by attending local church services and functions wherever their assignment brings them, dating opportunities can present themselves.

Relationship Tips as a Travel Nurse

  1. Clarify Your Expectations – Great Expectations is not only a classic book everyone had to read in high school English Lit class, it’s also a potential source of angst, particularly if those great expectations are one-sided or unclear. What do you expect from your partner? What do they expect of you? What type of relationship are you embarking upon? Short term and fun? Or are you open to a serious commitment? Those aren’t necessarily first date conversations (although never say ‘never’) however they are important to clarify particularly before you leave for your next assignment.

  1. Share the Small – If dating turns into a commitment to bridging distances between each other, sharing the trivial events and oddities of your day will become just as important as sharing the headlines. When we’re in the same town as our partner, the diminutive details are easy for partners to absorb, rather like osmosis. Unfortunately, one of the hard yet unavoidable truths of a distance relationship is maintaining a connection despite being apart. Sharing the insignificant will help you both feel connected. With today’s technology, you can make it fun and quirky with video clips, pictures, gifs, and audio. Do it specifically for your partner and not just in your story feed on social media for anyone to see to remind them they are special.

  1. Bridge the Distance with Shared Experiences – When you are in Omaha and your partner is in Seattle feelings of frustration that you can’t do things together are bound to surface. Be creative and open to finding ways to share experiences in spite of that distance. For example, watch the same movie at the same time, and video or voice call while you do it so you can share your quips and gasps and laughs throughout. Another example is to select a book, article, or podcast and then debrief together. Online games are a popular option as well.

  1. Schedule Time to Meet Up – The word schedule doesn’t automatically hark up images of romance yet it is essential for a long-distance relationship. If you don’t plan when to meet up, then the weeks will pass and before you know it, it has been too long for either one of you. It doesn’t always have to be one of you going to the other. Pick a place in between and make it a vacation for you both.

  1. Scout Work Opportunities – If your relationship is serious, eventually one of you will have to move your home base. Travel nursing is an excellent path to scouting medical facilities and hospitals for thoughts of future settling down.

Also, it should be noted, it doesn’t have to be a requirement to give up travel nursing in order to settle down with your partner. Many travel clinicians are in meaningful committed relationships and marriages despite being on the road for their work. Ultimately, expectations and communication are key to identifying how you can have the type of romantic relationship you want, that works for your chosen partner as well.

As humans, we require connection and socialization, it’s up to you to determine how much, and what kind. Don’t guilt yourself if you aren’t interested in looking for long-term commitments, and similarly don’t guilt yourself if you are in a committed relationship but don’t want to give up your travel nurse career. You have options, and the world of romance, love, lust, and companionship isn’t a one size fits all ball cap. Be open and honest with potential partners, and perhaps more importantly with yourself. Happy Heart Awareness Month!