In the nine years that I’ve been a traveler, I’ve made a ton of mistakes! In this blog, I’m sharing some common mistakes that healthcare travelers make. I’ve surely made a bunch of them and have learned from my lessons!
The biggest mistake of healthcare travelers is probably the tendency to overpack. You don’t need to carry your entire home with you from assignment to assignment. It’s amazing how little you actually need while traveling. While it may be tempting to pack your car full, analyze if you will really need something before it gets packed. Only bring what you will need. If you forget something, you can always pick it up on the road.
For tips on packing, check out this blog: What To Pack For A Travel Assignment.
Being Lured Into A Bad Job Because Of The Money or Location
Many people go into travel therapy to make money or to travel to a great location. However, remember that money and location aren’t everything. You need your mental health and sanity. Don’t take the high paying job that will make you crazy.
Vet your assignments well. In your phone interviews, ask a lot of questions to get a good sense of what the job will be like. Unfortunately, sometimes we can be lied to in phone interviews. However, if a job seems like a doozy, don’t be afraid to pass and wait for the next one to come around.
Getting Quotes From One Recruiter
Would you ever buy a car based on the price that one person told you? Or, would you look up the Kelley Blue Book value and compare it to the price at competing car dealerships? Of course you would shop around if you were making a big purchase. So then why would you settle for only a single quote on a job and rate from one recruiter or agency. SHOP AROUND! Rates are becoming more and more transparent on job boards and on social media. If you are not directly working with more than one agency, you can look online to see rates of similar jobs in the locations you are looking for.
Not Having A Back Up Plan for Contract Cancellations
Contracts can get canceled. Period. It’s important to have a plan in mind in case your contract does get canceled. This may be an emergency fund of money. Perhaps a credit card with a high spending limit. Or, it could be only signing an apartment lease that is month to month, or one that will let you break the lease without penalty. Whatever your plan, be prepared for the worst, but hope that it never happens!
Working Without Any Time Off
One of the downsides of travel therapy is that you do not receive paid time off from your employer. However, one of the AMAZING upsides is that you can take unlimited time off in between contracts, if you can afford to do so. While some travelers take months off at a time, others work back to back contracts and avoid missing a single day of work during the week. Working with no vacation can lead to burnout. So, plan ahead financially. Give yourself enough money to take some time off as needed for rest and relaxation. You deserve it!
Not Exploring On Assignment
Traveling for work can be exhausting. When the weekend rolls around, you may just want to sleep in and have a lazy day. While that is good some days, don’t get in the habit of being lazy every weekend. Go out and explore your new area. You may never get the chance to go back to where you are. Don’t have any regrets or wish you did something before you left.
I’m very guilty of this myself. During my first couple of assignments, I was fearful of exploring on my own and preferred to stay in, work out, and watch TV in my free time. Now, looking back, I regret not doing more exploring on my days off. I doubt that I will ever go back to some of those cities and there is so much I could have done that I didn’t.
Not Immersing Yourself In Local Food and Culture
The US is filled with so many different cultures and is a melting pot for the world. On assignment, learn about the culture or cultures that make up your area. Hang out with locals, like your coworkers, and experience what makes this culture unique. Say YES to local foods at the pot lucks or restaurants.
As you read this, you may be taking notes and making strategies for what you need to avoid. Well, hold up. Put that pen down. Take a moment, breathe, and relax. Traveling is about the journey. Don’t get stressed out over the small things. Relax and go with the flow! Know that you are capable of handling anything that life throws at you and it’s going to be an amazing ride!