What to do inbetween your travel physical therapy assignments

As a traveling therapist you are afforded the freedom many in the workforce will never get to experience. Typically those who work a perm position have to stick to a schedule and use paid time off to enjoy time away from the office. Traveling physical and occupational therapists on the other hand have many choices.

As a traveling therapist you are afforded the freedom many in the workforce will never get to experience. Typically those who work a perm position have to stick to a schedule and use paid time off to enjoy time away from the office. Traveling physical and occupational therapists on the other hand have many choices. As a travel physical therapist you have the option to work year-round and have options to plan on taking some much needed time off between assignments. There are of course times where you may want to keep working if  the location or assignment is what you desire. But if the situation arises, what are some things you can do until you start your next travel therapy job, that is if you choose to continue working as one?

Say you’ve been doing the travel physical therapy thing for a while, and maybe it’s time to settle down for a bit. Lucky you, there is the omnipresent  shortage of therapists all across the country and finding a permanent job shouldn’t be that difficult. Of course, it all matters where you’re living and what the demand may be in your area. Otherwise, you can pick up some temp jobs until you find the position you can tie yourself to.

If you can’t find the next travel therapy job you so desire right away, there are other things you can do to keep yourself busy. Most staffing agencies or at least the major players offer to pay for your continuing education classes to help you keep up to date with your profession. Do your research and see which companies offer these extra benefits.

Maybe you’re a little burnout and a little holiday is the prescription . Hopefully you have built up a little savings to allow you to take the much needed break. You’ve been all over, from big cities to small communities, but maybe you want to the rest of this great planet. Take a cruise, tour Asia, “Im going to Disneyland”, anything else but work! Take the time off and when you’re ready to rejoin the workforce, you’ll hopefully be refreshed and ready to do what you love, all over again.

Some of you though may not be comfortable with the idea of just sitting around doing not much of anything. As a therapist, it’s obvious you have a passion for caring, so why not choose to offer your services toward a worthy cause. As you know the earthquake in Haiti this past January stirred quite a response from the healthcare field and many nurses and other professionals traveled down to assist in any way possible, some were sent to help through organizations and others went on their own accord. Obviously, there is a need for this type of help all around the world and even in your own hometowns. Volunteering is a wonderful way to utilize your skills, expertise and compassion while away from your usual occupations. I’ve listed a few organizations in which you can sign up to volunteer for, either here in the United States or abroad.

Projects Abroad – Projects Abroad is the leading abroad volunteer organization. We offer a diverse range of international service projects, plus the opportunity to become part of one of our volunteer communities abroad.

Hands of Light In Action – a non-profit organization that is very simply focused on assisting people in need. 

Traveling therapists have so many choices when it comes to their vocation. You can work, or you can take advantage of the freedom and do what you want. Either way, being a travel therapsit will never limit you, the only limits those you put on oneself.

Get deals where you are traveling as a PT

living social websiteIf you are a traveling Physical Therapist who has not heard of LivingSocial.comyet, it is definitely worth checking out.

It is simple, here is how it works:

  1. You sign up with your email address.
  2. LivingSocial.com sends you one deal each day with discounts of up to 90% at restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more in the city you are in.
  3. If you are interested, you set up your account and buy the deal and receive a link to your voucher the next day.
  4. Here is the catch, but it is a good one – if you share the deal with your friends and 3 other people buy it using the link you gave them, then your deal is free.

What a cool way to find and do fun stuff in the city your travel physical therapy assignment is in. Check it out.

Your a mobile PT, why not have a mobile TV?

man holding TVIf you take a travel physical therapy job far enough away from your home that you need to set up housing, one thing you will have to deal with is setting up cable while you are there if you want it. There are companies that pay for your cable and that makes the cost easier to deal with. Some companies will even set it up for you, but that is still a pain waiting around for the cable guy all afternoon.

But there is an alternative. Slingbox.

Slingbox is fairly new (its been around a couple years already), but lately it hit me how awesome it could be for a traveling PT.You basically hook up the Slingbox to your TV at your home and it lets you watch your TV at home on the Internet through your laptop, PC or SmartPhone, no matter where you are.

Here is a video about it.

If you have it you don’t have to deal with the headache or cost of setting up cable at your housing while on assignment. It is definitely worth checking out.

If you have used or are already using it during your travel physical therapy jobs let us all know how you like it.

Go for a run during your next travel PT job

traveling pt jumping on the beachIf you are like me and don’t feel like you have visited somewhere until you ran there or just love to run during your travel physical therapy assignments then MapMyRun.com is for you. This robust site for runners (with sister sites for hikers, cyclists, triathletes, mountain climbers and walkers) offers some great tools for the traveling runner.

It has tons of great features, but for traveling PTs one of the places to start is the “search for run” tool which is super easy to use, just input your city and voila mapped out runs with distances and descriptions. These runs are submitted by users like you, so when you discover a great route while out for a run during your next assignment join the community and share it with others.

Some of the tools available to all visitors of the site (without sigining up)  include:

  • Run look-up
  • An event look-up
  • A community forum

You get a lot more if you sign up for a free account, but you do have to put up with ads if you don’t sign up for a premium account, which costs $5.99 a month or $29.88 a year for the Bronze membership, $11.98 a month or $59.88 a year for the Silver membership or $19.99 a month or $99.96 a year for the Gold Membership. However, if you are big into your running and workouts then it is probably worth it.

Some of the other tools available to members of the site include (vary based on membership level):

  • Workout History Archive
  • Workout Reports
  • Unlimited Mapping of your Runs
  • Elevation Charting
  • Gear Tracker
  • Groups
  • Leaderboard
  • Goals & Challenges
  • New Blackberry App
  • Printed Maps
  • Training PlansPartner
  • Virtual Event Discounts
  • Virtual MapMyFitness Events
  • Store Discounts

Some other cool stuff I saw offered on MapMyRun.com are:

  • Import from Garmin – Import Map / Route Data right from your Garmin GPS Device.
  • Nike+ Integration – Download your Nike+ Workouts right into your Training Log.
  • Polar HRM Integration – Download your Polar HR Workouts right into your Training Log.
  • Facebook App – We are building out our Social Apps: Facebook, Google Gadgets.

Signing up is simple and asks for:

  • Basic info (gender, email, age, etc.)
  • Fitness info, height, weight, resting heart rate,
  • Starting location (which becomes the default starting point for your runs, but you can change it anytime
  • Privacy options
  • Newsletter Sign Up
  • Sign up for discounts and promotions

Don’t forget to check out their Facebook and Twitter profiles too. They also have a new site cooming soon too, that looks like it will be a little cleaner and more intuitive.

So before you head out on the first run of your new travel PT assignment check MapMyRun.com out first.

FIZIO – A new rehab therapy tool

I came across this service for therapists and rehab professionals the other day and told the owner I would share it with my readers. It is called FIZIO and is a new online tool that lets you “create and send a customized video home exercise program to your patients.”

They have taken traditional still pictures and drawings and created videos that also have audio descriptions of each exercise. Coupled with a service that lets you easily upload videos or choose from their database and send the exercises to your patient this cool online service means that your patients will always have access to their program without the chance of losing it and will always be able to remember all the little details of each exercise, which can be a real problem in rehab. As someone who has been through my share of physical therapy this would have been great.

Here is their promo video that offers a great overview of the service. What is FIZIO? Check it out it comes with a free 30 day trial. What do you think?

Your one chance to make a good impression.

Life of a traveling therapist is a bit different than that of a traveling nurse. The hours, the workload and even the workplace all differ from one another, but there is one aspect of the traveling career that both share. Obviously you’re changing locations rather frequently and you’re meeting all kinds of new people and you have to able to adapt rather quickly. So what do you think these new faces think of you when you first walk in the door?

Your appearance, demeanor, the sound of your voice and ability to empathize all play a major role in your professional image. If the way you carry yourself becomes an issue shortly after your arrival to your new travel therapy job, well expect a long and arduous assignment. In order to ensure that your transition into these new assignments goes swimmingly, might I suggest some areas to work on to improve your professional image.

  • Professional work atmosphere and interactions
  • General appearance
  • Cooperation and team mentality
  • Professional responsibility

Being the new kid on the block is never the easiest thing. All you want is the respect of your peers and there are a few things to keep in mind while on assignment. If a situation arises in which you have an opinion about a work situation or even personal issues, be sure and remove yourself from those who may be within earshot. Also, make sure to you don’t exhibit any questionable behavior in front of them. Besides respecting peers and their space, you must also show your respect towards the facility and its contents. You are a healthcare professional and your care doesn’t always have to be aimed at the patients, you can apply this to your surroundings as well.

So what’s the first thing people notice when you walk into a room? If you guessed what you’re wearing or how you look, you’re probably right. Your appearance greatly affects the way your skills are perceived, undoubtedly. You have a respectable profession, so act and dress like it. Wear what you think would be appropriate to any age