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Welcome to Travel Talk.  Our guest blogger today is Lisa Amundson, an Advanced Medical Traveling SLP.  Lisa is currently serving as a mentor in the new grad program. She is here to share her thoughts on making the most of your first day in travel therapy.  Hope you enjoy.

Today was my fourth first day.

Let me explain: Today I began my fourth contract as a traveling speech-language pathologist (SLP) for Advanced Medical. First days are my favorites, but you have to know how to do them right. Along the way, I’ve learned how to “first day” the right way, and how to do it the wrong way.

Here are some quick “Do’s” and “Don’ts”


Do: Make a good first impression. Look professional, shake hands, tell everyone how nice it is to meet them and enjoy yourself. Everyone likes a friendly face, and they remember a friendly face, and they (eventually) will return the friendliness. The staff will remember you and your clients will probably like you right off.


Don’t: Not smile. Easy.


Do: Carry a notebook and write down answers to the thousands of questions you have the first day. What’s the code to get out onto the patio? Who’s the dietary manager? Where do you get thickened liquids?


Don’t: Expect to remember everything. You can’t. It’s just not possible. So write it down.


Do: Prioritize your clients. If you’re like me, you can only learn about 10 new names a day. Make sure those 10 names belong to your clients.


Don’t: Forget your own nametag.

Also, Don’t: let your feelings be hurt if no one remembers your name the first day or two. I was “Jennifer” for about a week at my second contract. Not a big deal. Some of my best friends are named Jennifer.


Do: HAVE FUN. Traveling is a blast. Your first day reflects how the rest of the contract will go, so make it how you want it.


Don’t: forget to learn from your clients. As fun as I find my job, it has also enabled me to learn so much more than I thought possible. My clients teach me about not only speech-language pathology, but life as well.  And that’s the best part.

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