The work that a travel therapist does is unlike that of the average 9-5 employee. Sure, the hours might more or less be the same but regular employees don’t have to deal with the added stress of moving from one assignment to another in just a couple of months. An assignment typically lasts thirteen weeks. For new regular employees that’s just enough time to acculturate to an office. However, to travel therapists, thirteen weeks means moving to a new assignment and starting the process of acculturating to a new work environment all over again.
With challenges such as this, physical and occupational therapists need certain personality traits to be successful in their chosen field. Here are some qualities you need to have if you hope to blossom in the travel healthcare industry.
Because you’re moving from assignment to assignment you need to be better organized than most employees. Making sure that you have your paperwork ready for the next assignment is not just helpful but essential. Being organized also mean you’ll be able to come into a new job with as little fuss as possible.
Not every assignment is going to work out the same way. Different companies will have different policies. You need the ability to hit the ground running at each new location. You will have to roll with the punches and adjust accordingly to every company’s unique way of doing things. As they say, when in Rome…
WILLING TO LEARN
As a travel therapist you will need to keep an open-mind about changes and not be set in your ways. Sure, you know what you’re doing and you’ve had great success in the past using your methods. But being a travel healthcare professional doesn’t just give you the opportunity to practice what you already know in a new locale, it’s also a chance to learn how to do things differently. Teach what you know to your co-workers but also learn from them.
CREATIVE/ABLE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
Creativity and problem-solving skills come hand in hand. In order to become successful in travel therapy you must, in a short amount of time, be able to assess patient situations and come up with both short-term and long-term solutions. Sometimes the solutions that you draw will have to be out-of-the-box. You have to be competent in what you do and confident enough to be able to solve problems creatively.
When you travel for a living you’re going to meet a lot of people. A lot. The number of new co-workers and patients you will work with is considerably higher than if you’re stationed in one facility for a longer span of time. It’s therefore important that you are able to play well with others. You have to be patient even with people with irritating personalities.
Just to be clear, when you travel as a physical or occupational therapist, you’re primarily traveling to work, not to sightsee. That said, you should make time for yourself and embrace every chance you get to have fun. Work hard but also play hard. Having some fun while you’re in a new place will help you appreciate your work more.
Not everyone can become a travel therapist. The unique challenges of the job require someone who has all of the traits above. The good news is that these personality traits can be developed if you don’t have them already. Above all, love your job and it’s going to be a wonderful journey, both literally and figuratively.