When you’re not working a traditional 9 to 5, finding childcare can be quite a challenge. Especially when you’re working as a nurse. And ESPECIALLY when you’re working as a travel nurse.
Most travel nurses do not work a traditional 9 to 5 schedule. The average travel nursing shift is 12-hours long. There are usually three types of shifts:
Days: 7:00am to 7:00pm
Afternoons: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Nights: 7:00pm to 7:00am
If you have small children, and most daycare facilities do not offer extended hours, what are your childcare options?
Google offers a plethora of information on childcare solutions for people who work beyond the traditional 9 to 5:
Here we list 7 creative childcare solutions for nurses who wish to travel, but have children under 5-years of age.
Divided & Conquer Childcare
If you have a significant other who has the ability to travel with you, find a contract with a schedule that will allow the both of you to split childcare responsibilities:
- If they work days, you’ll work nights
- If they work nights, you’ll work days.
- If they work specific days, you’ll want to work the days they aren’t working
- If they work non-traditional hours, see if you can find a daycare that will cover the hours the both of you are working.
Remove Barriers to Childcare
Most travel nursing contracts are three days a week, 12-hours a day. This is a schedule that can make it almost impossible to manage childcare around. But there are travel nursing contracts with different hours. Some offer five, 8-hour shifts a week or four, 10-hour shifts a week. Both of which would be conducive for your typical daycare.
Talk to your recruiter about your situation. Let them know you’re interested in travel nursing, but concerned about finding childcare solutions for your young children. Chances are they’ve heard this question before and may have some daycare solutions in the specific area you’re looking to take a contract in.
Search for a Nurse-Friendly Daycare
Some daycares, believe it or not, do offer their services for extended hours. They’re designed to cater to families who don’t work your traditional 9-5 job. In addition to those in the medical field (nurses, doctors, paramedics) they cater to the long hours of those working in the public sector (firefighters, police, civil servants, etc.).
Do a google search to see what’s available in your area. Search terms you can use are:
- Nurse friendly daycares
- Childcare for nurses
- Extended hour daycares
- Daycares near me
If your google search falls flat – call all the daycares in the area. Tell them your situation, and what you’re looking for. Chances are they may offer services that they don’t advertise to the public.
You can also talk to your hospital of interest about any child care services, or childcare resources they may have. With the advent of Covid-19, many hospitals developed in-house childcare offerings or similar programs.
In addition – since this is obviously a “make-it” or “break-it” decision for you – talk to your recruiter about your needs. They may have some inside information on childcare resources at the hospital you’re looking at working with.
Lean on Family and Friends for Help With Childcare
You may not have a partner that can help with childcare. Or your partner may also have long and inflexible hours. If that’s the case, reach out to your friends and family and see if any of them would be interested in childcare duties while you’re on contract.
That grandmother, aunt, cousin, may really appreciate a change of scenery and some extra time with your children. Think about those who might be more apt to take you up on a rather unconventional offer. Those who:
- Have always taken a liking to your kids
- Work remotely and could take their own job with them
- Might be going through a challenging life situation and could use the change of scenery
Find Childcare Close to Home
You don’t have to travel far to travel nurse. Local travel nursing has become an increasingly popular option with many hospitals offering travel nursing contracts to local RNs. Essentially it’s all of the benefits of travel nursing, minus the traveling. This is especially helpful if you have close friends and family that live nearby that are ready and willing to help with childcare.
The Babysitting Solution
There are 1,001 babysitters out there of high school & college age ready and able to take on those childcare duties while you’re on shift. Reach out to your mom-friends, fellow nurses, and family members to see who they use and trust. Or contact the local college and/or high schools and see if they’d be able to assist you with a few names & references of folks in the area.
Try to find more than one babysitter – as you’re always going to want to have a few backups.
Wait Until Your Kids Are School Age
It is absolutely possible that none of the above solutions will work for you. Perhaps you’re single or estranged from your family or don’t have any friends you’d trust to leave your young children with.
If for whatever reason – none of these childcare solutions work for you – it might be better to wait to travel nurse until your kids are of school age.
With after school programs & activities children are usually involved with, it will be much easier to arrange childcare for them while you’re away at work.
If You’re Dead Set on Travel Nursing
But if you’re dead set on making the switch to travel nursing – and believe “where there is a will, there is a way” talk to other travel nurses who also have young children and see how they managed the daycare conundrum. There are several Facebook groups you can join with nurses who have asked these very questions. Some of these include:
Found Your Childcare Solution?
If you believe you’ve found a way to care for your small children while you’re on assignment and you’re ready to learn more about travel nursing and what Next Move has to offer, check out our available jobs, or reach out to us directly about what you’re looking for.