Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in my First Year as a Travel SLP
Today is also the one year anniversary of traveling. Exactly one year ago today, we began this marvelous adventure and I officially had my first day at my first travel assignment in Kerrville, TX. This past year hasn’t been without difficulties, but has been AMAZING. Traveling is definitely one of the best decisions we have ever made, and we have gotten to meet so many amazing people and seen some beautiful parts of the country. So Happy Anniversary Advanced Medical, I’m glad I don’t have to eat year old cake. Gross. I have learned a lot in my year of traveling, so here are the top 10 things I’ve learned:
10. You need a lot less than you think
I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff I thought I couldn’t live without. The truth is it’s just a pain to pack and carry around all the time. The hardest for me is cosmetic/hair product samples! I am a hoarder of those things. But seriously, if you haven’t used it in a few months, you probably won’t ever.
9. Make time for exercise
It’s a pain finding a new place to work out every few months, but it’s worth it. If working out at a gym isn’t your thing, find an at home work out program to do (I did Insanity for a while). I feel so much better when I am exercising! Eating well (whatever that means to you) is also a biggie for me. It’s easy when you’re traveling to eat terribly- don’t let it be an excuse!
8. Take opportunities when you have them
Go explore wherever you are! You never know if your assignment will end unexpectedly (like one of mine did) and you won’t get to do everything you wanted to do because ‘there’s always another time’. One of my biggest regrets this year was not driving through the Grand Canyon on our way to California. It would’ve been a few extra hours out of the way and we decided not to go because we were tired of driving. Turns out we never did get to go back.
7. Challenge yourself
Stretch yourself professionally. You’ll develop more skills and be a better clinician. With my background in geriatrics, I was terrified taking a job with pediatric autism. It was difficult but I grew so much as a professional and became a better SLP.
6. Get involved at your company
I love Advanced Medical! I have really enjoyed getting involved with them more than just working for them as a therapist. I serve as a New Grad Mentor, help with marketing, write guest blogs, and anything else I can do. It has made my already wonderful travel experience even more spectacular.
5. Make a difference
As a traveling therapist, your circle of influence is increased dramatically. Strive to make a difference wherever you go!
4. Make friends
When you travel, you might think it would be easier not to make friends since you aren’t in anyplace too long. But I disagree. We have met some of our best friends on our travels! It’s hard saying goodbye, but it just gives you another reason to go back!
3. Get involved where you work
Don’t be afraid to get down in the trenches. Participate in events. Help plan things. Go above and beyond. Really care for your patients. Investing in where you work seems counter-intuitive since you are only there a short time, so what’s the point? But really and truly, I get back so much more than I give and it makes my work much more rewarding.
2. Be nice to the staff
As a therapist, you work with lots of different professionals such as nurses, house keepers, CNA’s, administrators, and doctors. Be nice to them! Get to know them by name, say hello, and tell them you appreciate their work.
1. BE THE STANDARD
This picture was posted by my Alma Mater, Baylor University, during spring football training under the caption “Another perfect day to get better”
I believe as a clinician you should always try to be better and strive to Be The Standard wherever you are. Being the standard means being the best. This is my professional motto: wherever I go I want to set (and be) the standard. As my favorite football coach Art Briles said, “You can find opportunity anywhere. It’s hard to find places where you can accomplish something.” As traveling therapists we have lots of opportunities. Let’s try to leave accomplishments.
We’re proud to say that that is our #1 rule as well! We constantly work hard to be the best and try to improve ourselves in order to help our therapists find their perfect job! Curious about travel therapy? Contact us to get the 411!