By Vance Hobbes
As a travel nurse practitioner with kids, you’ve got a couple options available when deciding what to do with your children. You can pack up your kids and take them with you, or if the assignment isn’t too long you can leave them at home under the discretion of your caretaker or spouse. If you choose to leave them at home for a while, keeping them healthy can be a challenge. You won’t be there to take them to the doctor’s office when they get sick, won’t be able to properly take care of cuts, or notice other irregularities in each child’s health. The simple answer is to let the responsibility fall on the shoulders of the caretaker or spouse. But this isn’t being a good parent. There are steps you can take to minimize unnecessary medical visits and to keep your child healthy while away. Let’s discuss a few of those steps now.
I can’t overstate the importance of a multivitamin for your kids. Not only do they prevent against diseases, but also make up for nutrient deficiencies and supply a consistent amount of nutrient consumption for your child. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association,
Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.
Iron, calcium, potassium, fluoride (I’m not a fluoride conspiracy theorist, it helps build strong teeth), vitamin D, and Zinc are the main vitamins and minerals you should target when purchasing multivitamin supplements for your kids.
Keeping your child active while away on a travel nurse practitioner job is tricky considering you’ll be unable to force your child to get off the computer or quit watching TV to go outside and play. A great way to combat this is to purchase a toy every week or so that can only be played with outside. This may be a Slip ‘N Slide during the summer, sled during the winter, or basketball and hoop during any season.
Childhood obesity in the United States is no laughing matter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects 17% of the children in the United States. Michelle Obama has been a major advocate for reforming what foods are provided at the school cafeteria, but a parent can make a major difference as well by advocating an active lifestyle with their children.
• Healthy Food
As was touched on a bit in the previous article, childhood obesity is a problem. While away on your travel nurse practitioner job, it can be difficult to limit the amount of sweets and junk food your kid(s) consume. This will be difficult to control, but holding your spouse/caretaker accountable for which foods are purchased and available for your child to eat will make a major difference. Advise the purchase of fruits and vegetables, but limit fruit juices. When your kid is thirsty from playing outside in the summer heat, you don’t want them to come inside and see a big bottle of sugary fruit juice sitting on the counter. There are many tasty alternatives – my personal favorite is sparkling flavored water. Still tastes great but also doesn’t contain the unnecessary calories and sugar of fruit juices.
French fries are not vegetables. Neither are fried pickles. I’m talking carrots, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes… Those kinds of vegetables. Again this largely depends on what you advise the leader of the house to purchase while away on your assignment.
It comes down to providing three basics to your children while away on your travel nurse assignment: multivitamins, exercise, and healthy food. Of course there are some other characteristics you can always add to the list, this is simply the core for keeping your kids healthy while away. This not only works for a travel nurse, but any other parent who will spend time apart from their kids as well.
– Vance Hobbes is a freelance writer and former medical researcher. Hobbes writes about many facets of the medical field, and works with CompHealth. When he’s not writing the day away, he spends his free time tending to his prizewinning garden and attending any basketball game he can find.