Your Role

For a traveling medical professional, an assignment is normally thirteen weeks. Toward the end of that assignment, it’s possible they may be asked to extend for another thirteen weeks. They don’t want to go over a year in one location as state taxes and residency issues then come into question, so it’s best to stop at twenty-six weeks for a single location, even though it may be possible to go back at a later time.

What this means is that unless you yourself are engaged in some kind of remote or portable employment (I go into the details of some of the possibilities on this page), your role during traveling needs to be that of a Househusband or Housewife. I don’t say that lightly, as that’s the role I’ve taken on myself. It’s also what I encourage others to do as well.

Being a medical professional is a rough job even without travel. There are the human fluids and waste, the ever-present possibility of gore, likely verbally or possibly physically abusive patients who honestly have no control over what they do, verbal or even physical abuse or threats from patients who are demanding narcisists, abusive family members who only want what’s best for their sibling or parent, or again who are demanding narcisists themselves, the staffing shortages, the supply shortages, the long hours your spouse runs from one room or exam area to another for eight or twelve hours, the exhausting detail of charting, the possibility of the charting system being backward and not intuitive … The list of what they go through is endless. Add travel to this and they will likely end up being pulled from one unit to another, maybe even being the only RN on a unit they’ve never worked on before, with a dozen patients or more that they’ve never met. This latter situation isn’t outlandish, as it has happened with my own wife more than once.

Meanwhile, they have to constantly look ahead to their next assignment. Where do they want go? Is the work there what they want to do? Is it a place you also want to go to for thirteen weeks? What are the pay and stipends there? Can you survive on that amount for that time, or is the suggested facility there paying too low to cover your mortgage back home if you have one, and all those related bills, as well as groceries and sundries as needed at the location? Does your spouse have the necessary state license, certifications, background checks, etc? Is there enough time to get those documents processed before that next start date?

So, I’m my wife’s Househusband. I develop web sites and do some technical writing, too. But she’s on the floor at the facility for twelve-to-fourteen hour shifts, thirty-six to fifty-two hours each week, and sometimes is so wiped out she’ll sleep a whole morning away. So I also do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, driving her to-and-from work so I can have the vehicle to get things done, taking care of our two small dogs, managing paperwork, making sure bills are taken care of, recreational and restaurant visit planning during an assignment, the transfer planning, packing and unpacking between assignments … At least 95% of what’s needed outside of the work she does.

I encourage you to take on the very role I have, that you do it willingly, realizing how important it is for your relationship. Really, it’s not difficult to physically accomplish whatsoever. It’s your mindset that may have a problem with it due to how society views such a concept. But trust me when I say that doing so actually works best for the both of you.