Falsone Forges as First Female Pro Trainer

Sue FalsoneIn late October, the L.A. Dodgers hired Sue Falsone as their head physical therapist. This marked a profound shift in gears, as head positions in athletic organizations have traditionally been a male-dominated field of work.

Falsone has already served as consultant to the baseball team since 2007, but traveling with a team of all-male athletes used to training with an all-male staff brings up questions of gender issues that are not unlike ones often examined by PhD candidates in woman’s studies programs. Will the team respect her as their PT and consider her to a team member, not a female outsider? How will overnight travel with Sue affect the team, individually and as a whole? Will she be able to relate to a male-only team regarding physical issues? How will emotions play into the “game?”

Fortunately, Falsone is well-aware of the dynamics within her organization and has made huge strides in garnering the respect of the team. According to an ESPN article, “the players made her feel like part of the team right from the start”. While some have considered her gender as a potential problem for the team, she brings with her past success of reducing team injuries and has already proven herself capable of strong and efficient management to the team as a consultant.

Falsone was inspired by her aunt at a young age to work in physical therapy. Raised in New York into a traditional Italian family, she quickly learned to become self-motivated and a hard-worker. In 1996, Sue Falsone graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy from Daemon University. She directed a private training organization in Tempe, Arizona (Performance Physical Therapy of Athletes Performance), where many pro leagues sent athletes for sports training. Noticed for her successes and innovative techniques, she seemed to possess something special the Dodgers capitalized on.

Acting president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Marje Albohm told the LA Times that this promotion for Falsone marks the beginning of the next frontier for women and that the appointment evolved in a very natural way. Albohm hopes that this event will allow women to be viewed as legitimate candidates for jobs that have traditionally been heavily dominated by men.

Falsone’s appointment is pivotal in allowing women to take up a more visible part in sporting events. Falsone’s focus, not on herself as a woman, but as a trainer is quite a natural style for her. She contends that integrating traditional physical therapy with conditioning and strength training in a holistic manner provides the best training for athletes to excel.

Although Falsone’s promotion has sent ripples through the sports management world, the promotion couldn’t seem any more natural for anyone who’s aware of her expertise in physical therapy. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this event shouldn’t be about how stunning it was for a woman to be hired in a prominent sports management position, but instead how merit is becoming the new standard for a line of work heavily skewed by gender.

Guest Author: Maria Rainier – Healthy Wake-Up Beverages for Jetlagged Travel PTs

Traveling PT drinking teaWhen you’re traveling serious distances for work, passing through one or more time zones on the way to your destination, it’s easy to let fatigue affect you the next morning. But if you’re a traveling physical therapist, you’ll probably be starting your latest job a few hours after you arrive, so you can’t afford to let jetlag get to you. Yes, there are energy drinks and coffee galore no matter where you go, but as a physical therapist, you know how important it is to keep your body and mind at their healthiest.

Unfortunately, many of the most popular ways to get energized in the morning aren’t the healthiest ways to keep your mind sharp and your body ready for action. It’s easy to rely on that morning cup of joe, especially when you’re spending the night in a hotel that has that convenient little coffee maker right there on the dresser. But you can get a healthier and more effective boost of energy from one or more of the following drinks, and it’s easy to make them even when you’re on the go.

Black Tea

The main benefits of tea (as opposed to coffee) are that it’s packed with antioxidants and you’re less likely to add excessive amounts of cream and sugar. It’s still potent enough to wake you up, but it’s gentler on your system and won’t let you down quite as hard as coffee might. I drink a cup of black tea every morning, and I used to be a coffee addict – I find the flavors of black tea to be more appropriate for morning and I love the “clean” energy I get from it. Black tea also has more caffeine than green tea, but depending on your needs, green tea might be energizing enough for you.

You probably don’t want to drink the same tea every morning, especially when there are so many great varieties, so here are three of the best and easiest to find that I’ve tasted. You can simply take the teabags with you and use a coffee maker to heat up the water, and this brand is easy enough to find that you can get more in most places even if you run out. All three of these are made by Tazo and can be found at coffee shops, grocery stores, health food stores, and even superstores like Target and Wal-Mart. To taste them before buying a whole box, simply find a coffee shop that carries them and order a tea to get a single teabag.

  • Awake: This blend of black teas from India and Sri Lanka is an all-natural way to feel invigorated, no matter what happened the night before. To me, it carries hints of citrus and anise, giving it a fresh but substantial flavor that wakes up the senses.
  • Focus: To be honest, I do have a favorite, and this is it. In addition to all-natural black tea, it has lemon, orange, chicory, and cocoa flavors that blend together into a beverage that tastes like pure energy. You get caffeine from both cocoa peels and black tea, so it’s a perfect way to get that morning kick when you need it the most.
  • Organic Chai: If I’m feeling especially sluggish, I choose the chai. Double doses of energy from a black tea blend and ginger root wake you up gently, but it’s the black pepper that jump-starts your taste buds. Other spices like cinnamon, cloves, and anise make this tea a winner in the fight against jetlag.

Lemon Pick-Me-Up

If you want to avoid caffeine entirely, but you still want to enjoy the energizing effects of a healthy morning beverage, try this on for size. You’ll have to get your hands on a fresh lemon, but you can easily carry a few with you (along with a small manual juicer and peeler). Before you do anything, wash the lemon with soap and warm water to get rid of any pesticides – if you’re really committed to a healthy drink, try to use an organic lemon. Once your lemon is clean, cut it in half, juice one half, and add the liquid to a glass of room-temperature water. Next, use your peeler to get a teaspoon of lemon zest out of the peel that’s left from the juiced half, adding this to the water and lemon juice. Stir it up and enjoy – it’s surprisingly refreshing and will get your morning off to a healthy and alert start.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s been researching the lowest paying degrees as well as the highest paying jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Guest Author: Maria Rainier – Travel Light: Tips for Efficient Packing

travel physical therapist trying to pack suitcaseIf you’re road tripping, you don’t want to fill your vehicle with suitcases – that extra weight decreases your fuel efficiency and it means you’ll have to roll, carry, and otherwise haul all of those suitcases around with you. That’s no way to travel. Things get even worse for the baggage-laden traveling physical therapist who’s flying to the next job since airlines now charge by the suitcase. No matter how you’re getting to your destination, the travel experience will be less of a headache and more of an adventure if you can pack efficiently. That means knowing what’s essential and packing it well. So if you’re interested in lightening your load and learning some professional travel skills, use these tips the next time you’re packing for a new job.

Learn from the Best

Why not get some packing tips from people who travel for a living? The New York Times interviewed seasoned flight attendants and pilots to get some professional packing advice for those of us who would appreciate a lighter suitcase. In addition to these tips, I’ve included a few of my own – most of which I learned the hard way when I flew overseas for the first time. I was literally repacking my suitcase in front of an agent who was telling me I had five minutes before I’d miss my flight. It wasn’t pretty, so avoid getting stuck in that situation and see if you can use some of these tips to start packing like a pro.

  • Pack your necessities first, from largest to smallest.
  • As you pack your necessities, try to fit smaller items inside larger ones. For example, you can put socks inside your shoes and roll small fragile items inside your clothing.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding and stacking them. You can even place one shirt on top of another and roll them both at the same time.
  • When you travel, wear layers. This is a good way to bring extra clothing and ensure that you won’t be too hot or too cold on the way to and from your destination.
  • Wear your largest, heaviest shoes when you travel – but only if you need them. Try to leave larger shoes at home since they take up a lot of space, and if you must bring a pair, wear them instead of packing them. For example, if you want to go hiking at your destination, wear your boots when you travel.
  • Bring no more than three pairs of shoes. They take up a lot of space and contribute a significant amount of weight.
  • If you bring a lot of electronics, invest in a single charger that’s compatible with all of your items. You can easily find car chargers with interchangeable tips, but if you won’t be driving on your trip, you might consider finding a solar charger. Most of these are equipped to charge a wide variety of devices. By bringing a single charger, you’ll save space and you won’t have to worry about remembering to bring more than one.
  • Avoid bringing a heavy coat. Try wearing thermal tees and long underwear along with a light jacket instead.
  • Ladies, pack basic clothing in neutral solids so you can easily create outfits from just a few pieces. Examples of clothes that can do double duty include black pants, skirts, and tops; wrinkle-free items in a lighter neutral like beige; and a few white tank tops for layering. Add variety with small accessories like scarves and jewelry.
  • Take along an e-reader instead of books and magazines. If you need your laptop, you can even download free e-reader software and use it to read your e-books.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, writing on online degrees and playing with the newly revealed online college degree calculator. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Guest Author: Wes Herdlein – Hybrid Traveling

During my first 3 years of traveling, I took advantage of the convenience of agency provided housing and furnishings. Since then, I’ve changed the system a bit. It’s not that the current system was broken, it actually worked well. The apartments and furnishing were always nice but excessive for a single guy. Did I really need a sofa AND loveseat? Did I really need a dining room table and 4 chairs? After all, in reality, I eat dinner on the coffee table, remote control in hand.

travel pt packing for assignmentOn average furniture rental runs $500 a month, which adds up to about $6000 a year. With this in mind, I decided to buy an enclosed travel trailer and haul around only the basic furniture needed to survive. I found a used 5×8 foot trailer on craigslist for $1600.00. Into the trailer, I fit a full size sofa, a queen mattress, fold-up tables and chairs, lamps, and a 36″ TV. I even mange to fit a guitar, golf clubs and camping gear. Everything serves a double purpose: empty plastic bins become TV stands, night stands and laundry baskets. Camping chairs become living room furniture. Throw a sleeping bag over the camping chair and it’s a Lazyboy! It is not the most elegant way to live but it works well and is great on the bottom dollar!

I’m able to tow my trailer with a Toyota 4-Runner. It’s easy to hitch and unhitch. When it’s empty, I can lift it easily and drop in onto my car hitch. You can’t take every household item with you, but you can include all of the necessities. If I am missing anything, it can almost always be borrowed or bought at Goodwill for 75 cents.

This won’t work for everyone, but it works for me and my wife. My original $1600 investment has saved me about $18,000 over the past 3 years.

How do you travel? Do you have any thoughts or tips you would like to share?

Wes Herdlein is a Traveling PT and Founder of HealthcareTravelbook.com

Guest Author: Wes Herdlein – The Do’s and Don’ts of PT Licensure

travel physical therapist at deskAfter 6 years as a traveling PT and obtaining licenses in 11 states, I have learned some lessons the hard way. In an effort to make it easier for the next generation, here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1) Maintain your license in your home state. Even if you rarely work there, this helps support your cause if the IRS decides to question your tax free earnings. It’s a smart move to earn some income in your home state every so often as well. (See Joseph Smith’s blogs on this community for more tax tips.)

2) Create some commonly used documents in the application process and keep them up to date. Make a folder on your computer for “state licensure”. Some files that will be helpful are listed below. These can be in either and Excel spreadsheet or a Word document table.

a. Employment History – start and end date, address, supervisor’s name and phone number, agency name, etc

b. Licensure History: State license number, date obtained, current or expired

c. A record of license expiration dates, renewal CEU requirements, and phone and addresses of the state licensing boards. (You can also organize your Favorites folders in your web browser to include all websites needed for licensing and verifications.)

3) I have uploaded a few files that you can use as templates on Healthcare Travelbook. You can find them at http://healthcaretravelbook.com/files.

4) Be nice. Sometimes you need to grease the wheels to push a license application through. Making a “friend” at the license board is sometimes the best way. Write their name down and thank them. (you might even send their boss a kudos for their professionalism, even if they weren’t so professional. They will remember you and be even more helpful when you need a license verification sent from them to another state. This has worked in some desperate situations!)

5) The good, the bad, the ugly: (good = easy to get a license)

a. Good states: North Carolina, Alabama, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, and Texas

b. Bad states: Wisconsin, South Carolina

6) Ugly states: New Hampshire, Washington. New Hampshire is the worst by far! Consider going to Vermont or Maine before attempting this one! I can almost promise delays and frustration! Once you do finally get a license there, it’s beautiful year round.

7) Keep your pistols loaded: Have envelopes, stamps, and pre-written letters on your computer. Pull the file, change the date, print, then send – prevent delays from having to stop to buy supplies. Time can be valuable when you begin the licensure process.

8) Use on-line services for transcripts, verifications, exam scores, etc. whenever possible.

9) Expect delays and account for them BEFORE they start! Be persistent but “nice”!

When just starting, it seems like a endless mountain to climb. But it gets easier as you streamline your system. Obviously the more states you travel to, the more verifications you will need to request when applying for a new state. Verifications for me range from $10 to $50. With 11 of them required (and counting!) this can add up quickly.

Good luck and TRAVEL ON!

Wes Herdlein is a Traveling PT and Founder of HealthcareTravelbook.com

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.