Here are a few tips for you if you’re considering a life as Traveling Medical Professional.
Decide what area you want to work in or how open you are to moving around. Most contracts start at 13 weeks with possible extensions. So be open to that. When getting close to the end of the contract if the company you’re working for wants you to stay they may ask for an extension. Now it is your decision if you want to stay or not. You may hate it and want to get the heck out of there as quick as you can or you might like it and be happy to hang out another 3 months. Always keep that in mind.
I decided I only want to work in a certain area for now. I won’t take assignments in the eastern states. I have family obligations and I want to stay within a certain range that makes it quick and easy for me to get home in case I am needed. I have 2 new grandchildren I also I want to be able to visit frequently. These are things you need to keep in mind when you decide to take on this lifestyle.
Ready to go!
Make sure you have all your certifications, licenses, immunization records and continuing education in order and easily accessible. Resumes, references and contacts up to date. Also ,make sure you get a couple of references from each of your assignments. It’s to stay up to date on those.
You can google Travel Medical Staffing agencies to start looking for companies. Compare the pay packages, travel reimbursements, housing packages and per diem rates. My personal favorite is Fusion. If you chose Fusion please Contact Becki Helms Mousseau and she will be happy to help you get placed quickly. Just let her know I sent you to her. She has been a huge help to me and become a great friend too.
When you first sign up there is a lot of paperwork that has to be done and immunizations that will have to be updated, so be prepared for that. It’s a real pain in the butt but has to be done. Also after you agree to an assignment the hospital you sign with may have their own pile of stuff for you to do. Some have a lot to do and some don’t have hardly any at all. That’s just a roll of the dice. Just prepared for it. There is really no getting out of it. I tried! You will become a pro at answering the questions. It gets really frustrating having to do all this stuff and not getting paid for it, but that’s part of it. It has to be done before you can walk in the doors of your new assignment. Honestly, I don’t know how Becki put up with my on my last two assignments I so fed up with it all. I really have to give her kudos for not giving up on me and staying with me. 🙂 Ok! So you have your assignment and all your shots up to date, pre-employment stuff all done by now.
Time to decide about your housing arrangements. Over the last couple of years since I started doing travel assignments I have done housing a few different ways. Be sure to research any place you decided on. On my first assignment, the company I was with put me in an Extended Stay America for 2 weeks while they found me an apartment. It was nice enough, free internet and cable TV. Laundry On-site also, make sure you keep plenty of quarters on hand. After two weeks they found an apartment for me to look at. I loved it and chose to live there.
I felt really lucky to score such a nice place. The company paid my utilities and rent. All I had to worry about was cable and internet.
On my second assignment, things were a little different this time. This is when I went to Crockett. At the time I had a cat traveling with me. You are allowed to take your pets, but you’re responsible for the deposits. This is where my struggle was. There were no hotels in Crockett that accepted cats. The company finally found me cabin at the Crockett family resort. As I stated in my blog entry it was a step up from hunting cabin. It did A/C but no heat, so when the months got a little cooler the owners gave me a portable heater for my little one room shack. It didn’t appear to have been redecorated or updated since the 70’s . The park was nice and very pretty I even liked staying there even if it was a little rustic. I chose it sight unseen by looking at the pictures on the internet.
So read your reviews!
Re-assignment in Crockett 6 months later.
The company put me in a hotel for 2 weeks, because I insisted I would not go back and live in that tiny little rustic cabin again. Well needless to say the hotel was a dive! The internet never worked, toilet ran, sink dripped and it was just BAD! Do not sign in and register until you look the room over and make sure everything is to your satisfaction.Stay away from the Express inn in Palistine Texas. Now on a positive note, this is when I got to move to the Bar-S. I loved it! A great place to stay whether for work or vacationing.
So my best advice is if you are going to let your company take care of your housing go look things over and read reviews before you sign up for anything long term. Don’t be fooled it’s their job to make sure you happy and safe. You don’t have to settle for substandard living. Housing departments don’t know what these places are really like, they are booking over the internet. Not by experience.
Another option is you can find your own hotels and apartments and take the housing subsidy. Remember you will need furniture and all the living necessities if you take this route. You can make a little more money like this. 😉
Currently, we are living in a 37th motor home. This is a great way to do actually live and work on the road. It does get a little cramped at times and not as much privacy as one would like if your not a single person, but it works out very well. Space rent ranges from about $375 -800 a month plus electric. Most RV parks have free internet and you can use a regular HD TV antenna. You can make a lot more money doing this and taking the housing subsidy,
Ok, so that pretty much sums up the housing options. I’d love to hear your experiences also if you would like comment and let me know how it works out for you if you have another option.
Packing! Oh, what fun! Not really. You have limited space in your car or if you flying you very limited space in luggage. Keep this in mind. Take what you know you really have to have. You want a few things to make you feel at home, but you can’t take the whole closet with you. My first assignment I bought so much stuff while I was on assignment I had to mail boxes back home when it was time to leave. Another perk to the RV even though we don’t have a lot of room we don’t have to pack and unpack every time we move down the road.