Waiting for an Empty Nest Before Traveling?

Some nurses wait for a specific moment to begin traveling. For that right time when they can embrace their independence, knowing that the people in their lives who they have cared for are now equally independent. If you’re already living life as an “empty nester,” or coming soon upon that time, there are a few reasons you may want to consider travel nursing.


Wyeen Butts, LPN is a geriatrics nursing professional who has been practicing for 19 years. She started working as a travel nurse for Cariant after her son started his junior year in college. On her second contract now, she’s already had a new “first” by working at a trach and vent hospital, where she extended.

“I’m learning a lot here, so that’s why it wasn’t hard for me to do a second contract,” Wyeen said. She’s a big believer in that year after year, nursing continues to grow, and there’s always more to learn. “You’ll meet people in a whole different state or part of the country, and they can teach you something you didn’t know,” she said.

Nursing recruiter Lisa Willert echoes this belief. She’s been recruiting nurses for years and agrees that the learning opportunities for travelers are a huge benefit, in that, “It’s healthy for experienced nurses to get out and work in new environments, and to continue to grow in their careers.”


Travelers with that many years of experience are also a benefit to permanent staff. There is an advantage to new perspectives, varied experiences and learning from people who come in from other facilities and parts of the country. Nursing recruiter Becky Sullivan says, “tenured nurses help by teaching others what they know, and sharing their experiences with younger nurses.”

The years of experience that empty nesters are likely to have also set them apart in the interview process. The ideal hire for a facility is a traveler who can come in ready to go because they already have the knowledge required to care for patients in that specific unit.


Staying in touch with family and friends only gets easier as technology provides new ways to communicate. “If you’re thinking about not traveling because you have grown children, or children that you’re close to—home is only a phone call away with technology,” Wyeen says. “I FaceTime my children every day. I talk to my grandchildren every day.” Wyeen jokes that she tries to travel away from her family. Having always been close to them, and at the same time knowing she wanted to be a travel nurse, she was ready once the timing was right. “Being out, you’ll meet new people,” she said. “It’s an experience that I’m loving.”