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Traveling Physical Therapist Recaps TravCon 2017

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Travel Physical Therapist, Alex Hart, is back at The Traveling Traveler to give his re-cap of TravCon 2017.   He has officially coined the term “bloughting” (blogging thoughts) and has some bloughts about Trav Con 2017 to share.  Thank you for your sense of humor and authenticity that shines through your writing, Alex!  We all wish you “happy retirement” as you take the rest of the year off to rest and relax with your family.

So, I’m just sitting here…

…sitting here wallowing in my super terribly awesome relaxing, albeit temporary, retirement.  Yes, I love that I can retire every so often with this very cool and fun profession.  And, so does my dog haha.  Wait, what was I going to chat about?  Oh yes! TravCon 2017!!!

TravCon’17: What to look for: recruiters/agencies – turn ons & offs

Just sitting here re-running TravCon 2017 in my head.  Looking back at yet another amazing get together of networking and making new friends.  Friends of seasoned professional nature, newcomers to the scene, and ones whose pixels warranted a non-pixelated meeting because we figured we were just so awesome we just had to un-pixelate!  I’m kind of hoping those reading this are envisioning Adam Sandler’s movie Pixel with a giant Pac-Man chomping his way around the city…because that’s obviously what I was thinking haha.  And, now down to bloughting! (blogging thoughts!)

I was approached by many of the new attendees/travelers & future/dreamer travelers, in the allied health divisions, on how I go about selecting recruiters or agencies.  First off, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a cold call or at a convention such as TravCon.  It starts with the recruiter’s or agency’s presentation.  How do they approach me?  After all, they are trying to sell their brand to me.

TravCon isn’t just a nursing convention, so don’t ask why a therapist would attend a nursing only convention

There were a few stories I heard, throughout TravCon, in which an allied health traveler approached a booth and they were approached by the recruiter either with some form of ignorance, disdain wonder, or a card and brush off.  Now, out of principle, those agencies and/or recruiters are automatically off my list.  I mean seriously, this was not a convention for nurses…it was a convention for nursing AND allied health.  Agencies, please send only your top recruiters and be aware of the scope of the convention…If there’s no allied health recruiter available, enlighten the available non-allied health recruiters on some basic knowledge and etiquette geared towards us awesome allied health professionals.

TravCon isn’t just a nursing convention, so don’t ask why a therapist would attend a nursing only convention; it’s not like therapies are so far removed from western medicine that we should have to explain and describe to recruiters what our scope is; and have the decency to offer some insight into the agency, rather than just “Oh, you’re a therapist. Here’s a card of a therapy recruiter K thanks bye…”  Also, as far as the constant calls/cold calls from recruiters go.  I stay away from the ones that keep hounding me, even though I keep telling them that I am finely set up and working with four different agencies/recruiters already.  Honestly I block those numbers and/or Facebook messengers, once I figure them out…

That being said, I did have some good networking experiences at TravCon this year.  These experiences included friendly banter, an approachable attitude, friendly smile, knowledgeable across all the attending professions, and not attempting to sell me on some form of snake oil (if it sounds too good, it probably is…).  These honorable agency mentions, in order for me, were TotalMed Staffing Inc, Core Medical Group, Focus Staff, TitanMed, Medical Staffing Solutions, Fusion, Host Healthcare, and Nuwest Group.  All of these companies and their representatives at TravCon were very cordial and knowledgeable to me.  I have not worked with all of them, but they all provided a good feel and first impressions.  They all also do allied health, as well as nursing, but may not do all of the allied health professions.  Nuwest, for instance, doesn’t do therapies, but does other allied health, per their website; and they gave away super comfy socks.  Just saying.

Now, out of all the agencies sponsoring TravCon 2017, Next Medical Staffing was the most homely I felt.  This was the massage chair booth FYI, I mean enough said right?!  The main gentleman running the booth was fantastically friendly and had an attitude like just another Joe around the corner.  Easy guy to chat with.  However, they don’t do allied health at all.  If they did, I might be giving them a good look.  I think Focus Staff came up with the best slogan I’ve ever heard though.  The CEO, whom was present, I believe made it up on the spot.  “Cornhole. No BS.”  I thought it was great!  Lends good insight into his personality and character as well.  Those are the little things that many recruiters miss.  The personable touch.

That being said, here is the nitty gritty bullet point cliff notes version of what I just ranted…

I look for:

  • Reps/agencies that approach me, not bull rush/hound me
  • Reps/agencies that talk with and speak to me, not trying to over sell or sell me snake oil
  • Reps/agencies that listen to me and understand what I am, what I need, and what I may offer
  • Reps/agencies that give me the time of day instead of the brush off
  • Reps/agencies that genuinely care about their travelers
    • Also, if a recruiter remembers me from the previous TravCon, and it was a good memory, then they get some positive points too.
  • As these are met, then I feel comfortable and that my time is well spent looking further into the given recruiter/agency

Wow…I really could’ve just started here and saved me some finger sprains…meh hindsight 20:20 lol

Most importantly, if a relationship with a recruiter/agency feels right, it most likely is and will be nothing but benefiting to you.

Last year TotalMed reached out to all 13 of us allied health travelers at TravCon and wanted to understand what we were, who we are, what we can do and why the heck are we just so damn awesome.  They didn’t have an allied health division yet, but were branching out, and wanting to do it right.  Now, they have a thriving allied health division that takes care of their travelers and tells it like it is; I’ve yet to be presented any snake oil from them and I don’t forsee them attempting such a feat.  They fulfilled all of my requirements for being a good agency to work for and then my recruiter, whom many met at all the TotalMed events this year, followed through as well.  Furthermore, every recruiter I’ve worked with, over the years, has not only been my recruiter, but also a friend.  Someone that I can just buzz and BS with or talk shop with, and maintain a fluid and two-way conversation/relationship.  This career is a two-way street and the only way we can get anywhere, is if not only our recruiters/agencies work well with/for us, but also we with/for our recruiters/agencies. Most importantly, if a relationship with a recruiter/agency feels right, it most likely is and will be nothing but benefiting to you. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not and you should stop beating that dead horse and move on to a live horse that helps you chase the mountain and ocean sunrises to your heart’s content. Don’t try to convince yourself that a given recruiter/agency is right for you. Use your head’s logic to lay down the argument pro/con, and your heart as the check/balance for what feels good, can live with but only feels okay, and what is a “oh hell no!” moment.

This career path of the traveling healthcare professional is all about relationships.

This career path of the traveling healthcare professional is all about relationships.  It’s not rocket science or brain surgery.  It’s a little bit of an algorithm, if you are one to follow bullet points to a “T,” I suppose, but no more than any other potential relationship one might make during a chance meeting.  However, it is mainly a common sense thing.  Yes, there are a plethora of varying aspects to our chosen path, but that’s half of the fun.  Keeps us on our toes, lets us toss a change-up in the mix anytime we want, and exposes us to situations, scenarios, geography, and demographics otherwise locked away from us, allowing us to grow and fly.  Will I travel forever?  Who knows?  Will I roam free and fly?  You bet!  And I’m gonna make as many waves as I can along the way.

P.S.  Wanderly – a new booth a TravCon.  Currently only for nursing.  Not a recruiting/contracting agency.  More like a Kayak search engine website for travel contracts.  Supposedly going to have allied health tools on their website in 6 months (goal of director of partnership development rep present at booth).  Worth keeping an eye on down the road.

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