Calling speech language pathologist Erika W. spontaneous wouldn’t surprise her. She’d actually agree. Take her decision to be a traveling therapist. She took her first travel therapy assignment on a “whim.”
“It was the best decision I have ever made,” she says, “professionally and personally.”
First assignments are almost always memorable. In Erika’s case, her initial assignment was an all-around success. Much of the reason is, she says, having the right support behind her.
“My recruiter Britt had quite a bit to do with it. CompHealth has a small company feel, instantly making you feel at home. My recruiter was always giving me an honest opinion, keeping me updated, and reaching out to me. With this being my first travel therapy assignment, I was a bit unsure of many things, but Britt always had the answer for me.” She adds, “CompHealth is an all-around amazing company to work for, especially for first time travelers.”
First travel therapy assignment
Erika’s first travel therapy assignment took her to New York’s Finger Lakes region, which was created by ancient glaciers scouring the hilly countryside with long, deep, and narrow furrows. The resulting lakes offer unsurpassed natural beauty and a destination for today’s nature lovers and vacationers. Her assignment, working at a local school, freed her for enjoying the area, hiking, and exploring the famous NY Wine Country vineyards.
The school assignment offered other perks as well. “There have been field trips and other extracurricular activities I have been able to be a part of,” she explains. “It has been fun getting to know coworkers and other speech pathologists.”
Getting ready for an assignment
Erika did some preparation for her first assignment, prep that now serves as a template for future assignments. “I take advantage of any connection I might have before moving to a new location. If I can think of a distant relative or a friend of a friend in the area, that helps introduce me to a group of people to do things with.”
How she benefited from her first assignment is exactly what she’d hoped a career as a traveling therapist would offer. “As a young therapist, working in travel therapy helps to build confidence in your practice, increase your knowledge in working with a variety of diagnoses, increase your patience and flexibility, and get experience in a wide range of settings,” she says. “I have really enjoyed learning about each facility and the way they do things, such as running meetings, completing documentation and other paperwork, and the sort of community events they do.”
Grow as a therapist
Her first-time success has turned her into a vocal advocate for the traveling therapist profession. “It is a great way to grow yourself as a therapist, meet new people, constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, and make great money along the way!”
What’s Erika’s recommendation for a satisfying first assignment experience? “Find a recruiter that you mesh well with. He or she will be your guide through your first assignment, so a good vibe and positive relationship is very important.”
A positive outlook
What else is needed to make your first travel therapy assignment a winning experience? The right outlook, according to Erika. “If you go into each assignment with an open and flexible mind, everything will work out just fine. Remember that you always have your recruiter that you can be honest and open with if any difficulties or uncertainties arise during your assignment. My advice for first-time travel therapists: do it! It will be the best choice you’ve ever made.”