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Lauren is May’s New Grad of The Month!  She has been a dedicated member of our New Grad Team of traveling OTs for over a year now. Having successfully completed a number of assignments in North Carolina and Tennessee, Lauren is already becoming the quintessential traveler. She is in South Carolina on another assignment now, and as always, she is exceeding the expectations of those she works with.

Throughout her time at Advanced, Lauren has also formed a strong friendship with her recruiter, Sarah Hanratty. They even juggled placements and time off to make sure that Lauren balanced her wedding and honeymoon while maintaining career and travel. Lauren did her interview for the position while she was on her honeymoon and accepted the position on her first day back!

 “Lauren is such a strong and sweet therapist. Lauren always has such a positive attitude regardless of the situation. I couldn’t ask for a better therapist and friend!” – Advanced Recruiter, Sarah Hanratty

Get To Know Lauren

May New GradWhat drew you to pursuing occupational therapy as a career? I was originally drawn to pediatric OT when I saw how much fun my brother, Kirkland, had with his pediatric therapist. I went into OT school thinking pediatric is all I would ever practice. However, fieldworks and internships exposed me to all populations and I found that I enjoy working with the senior population even more! Since then, I realized that my calling is in the skilled nursing setting.

Why did you decide on travel therapy as a new grad? When I graduated from OT school my now husband was in the military and stationed in NC. We had decided that we didn’t want to settle down in that area, but I did want to be near him without making any long-term commitments to a position. Travel therapy helped me do that. After my second travel contract, my husband finished his military contract and we decided that he could take classes online and we could continue travelling. We like to hike and enjoy the outdoors, so we look for contracts where we have opportunities to enjoy nature. We have had the opportunity to visit Lake Hartwell where we are now, and we experienced the Great Smoky Mountains on our previous contract.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish as a traveling new grad? I would say I have two main goals. First, I want to have as many adventures as I can. My husband and I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and going to state parks to see all that we can. We also enjoy searching for geocaches at each travel contract. Whenever we arrive at a new town, we always look to see what geocaches are nearby because it’s a good way to see what the area has to offer.  On one of our contracts, we actually found a geocache trail that had coins at each stop. After finding them all, we received a package with prizes including t-shirts, Frisbees, and magnetic rulers! Secondly, I want to learn as many new treatment and evaluation techniques as I can. Meeting new therapists, including OTs, PTs, and SLPs, at each facility, I have learned some really interesting and cool things about diagnoses and treatments. I may not have learned what I have if I was at one facility with one set of staff members!

What is the number one place you hope to travel to and why? I have been blessed in my travels so far! I have seen many different towns throughout the southeast including the Eastern NC, Greensboro, NC, the mountains of Tennessee, and inland SC. I would love to travel to where I’m close to the coast. Being licensed in NC, SC, and GA now should make it possible for this summer!

What has the biggest surprise been so far? My biggest surprise has been how welcoming many of the facilities are to new travelers. I was warned by many people (most of which had never traveled) that traveling therapists will get directors who place impossible expectations and assign the most difficult patients. In my experience, quite the opposite has happened. With every contract, I have been welcomed into the staff as if I were a permanent part with open arms. I always get any help or assistance I may need.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? I sang in choir through high school and college and had the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall in New York!

Like Lauren’s story? Check out our New Grad Program to learn more about how she got here with Advanced Travel Therapy!