Strangers are friends you have yet to meet.

So you’re the new kid in class, or in your case, the new travel therapist in town and you know not a single soul. If you think back to when you were in school you’ll soon realize how simple it was to make friends. You’re all there for the same reason and relatively all around the same age, so finding commonalities and striking up conversations and the like was fairly easy.

So you’re the new kid in class, or in your case, the new travel therapist in town and you know not a single soul. If you think back to when you were in school you’ll soon realize how simple it was to make friends. You’re all there for the same reason and relatively all around the same age, so finding commonalities and striking up conversations and the like was fairly easy. But now you’re out on your own and about to embark on a new career in travel therapy, meeting all kinds of different people, young and old, with all types of different interests besides your occupation. So what can you do to find yourself new friends you can relate to?

Making friends on your next travel therapy assignmentAt work you may find it hard to approach others. The various schedules and taking care of patients can make it difficult to interact with your coworkers. Being the newest staff member it is important to make yourself accessible, and make an effort to show that you are a friendly and approachable person. Try and get yourself in some water-cooler talk and ask others about their weekends or plans they may have for the week. Any reason you can find to engage with your peers will prove to them that you’re willing to make the effort to be their friend.

When you’re outside of work and don’t have a network of friends, think of the entire city full of people as an opportunity at friendship. The easiest thing you can do to help meet others is be open and cordial. Smile as you come upon people passing by. Start a conversation in line at coffee shop or grocery store. The more you seem approachable the more apt others will be to want to connect with you.

You’re going to have to make an effort to make friends, you can’t just keep yourself bottled up. It’s highly unlikely that others will approach you if you put off a closed demeanor. Sure, things may seem awkward at first, but that’s natural. In the beginning, take every opportunity to engage with others. If there’s a group going out to lunch, go. Even if you brought your own lunch. If the gang is going out for some post-work drinks, go. You need to show you’re a team player if you want to be included in their reindeer games.

Outside of the workplace, the same rules apply. If you go to the same places all the time, you’ll eventually just run into the same people. Wherever your travel therapy job is located, you know is full of people so you should branch out. Take a joga class. Try going to different supermarkets. Try going to dinner, catch a flick or grab a drink by yourself. Bartenders are always a good place to start for conversation. If meeting new people makes you a little nervous, start out small and try and just start talking to the one person you see most often, like the coffee shop barista or perhaps a neighbor.

Next week, we’ll expand on the topic of making friends in new places, but until then try these few methods I’ve given you and see for yourself what being an approachable person can do for your social life. If you have any tips for others, please share them in our comments sections.

Guest Article: How Travel Physical Therapy Jobs Help Prepare PTs for Private Practice

Any job that encompasses travel is perceived to be glamorous, but unless you’ve really been on the move for the better part of your life, you will probably never understand the rigors and hardships that are hidden underneath every breathtaking location you’ve been to. The principle applies to a travelling physical therapist’s job as well – while it may seem desirable and exciting from the periphery, it involves a lot of hard work and a fair amount of instability in your life. But that’s notPhysical Therapist With Patient In Rehabilitation to say that travel physical therapy is all bad; in fact, there is so much that this line of work could teach you. It provides knowledge and information that is not readily available at steady therapy jobs, and because of this, travel physical therapists gain more experience in a relatively short span of time.

If you’re interested in becoming a traveling physical therapist, if you don’t mind travelling to new places for each new assignment, and if you want experience in a wide variety of aspects associated with physical therapy, then travel therapy is the field for you. It’s exciting if you look forward to seeing different places and working with different kinds of patients, it’s exhilarating if you don’t mind uprooting yourself on a regular basis and being unable to settle down in one place, and it’s profitable in the long run if you’re willing to put up with hardships in the short.

In general, travel therapy jobs help physical therapists who hope to set up their own private practice sometime in the future because:

  • They allow you to gain a vast amount of experience in a short period of time.
  • They allow you to work in different settings and gain an insight into how each healthcare environment is managed and administered.
  • They provide you with access to different kinds of patients; so besides gaining experience in all forms of therapy, you’re also able to choose from them and settle on one particular field that interests you the most. In short, choosing a specialization becomes an easier task when you’re a travel physical therapist.
  • They facilitate the process of making enough money to set up your own practice because they pay more than regular therapy jobs.
  • They allow you to decide on the location you want to set up your own practice; you can base your decision using the information you’ve gathered over the years relating to the flow of patients, the kind of payment they’re capable of, the nature of the work environment, the kind of licensing required by the State, and various other factors that you pick up over the course of your travelling assignments.

Setting up your own practice depends on a variety of factors – money, experience, and future prospects. If you’re a travel physical therapist, you’re able to gauge all these factors and make your decision accordingly.

Summertime and the job search can be easy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and relax this summer, soaking up the rays of the sun, gathering with friends and family for BBQ’s and the like? Yeah sure, if you had a job! Life would be much easier during these summer days knowing you’re in a job that is secure. So what do you do if aren’t fortunate enough to be in this position?

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and relax this summer, soaking up the rays of the sun, gathering with friends and family for BBQ’s and the like? Yeah sure, if you had a job! Life would be much easier during these summer days knowing you’re in a job that is secure. So what do you do if aren’t fortunate enough to be in this position?

Travel Therapy Job Search
Use your summer to find a job, not seashells.

Some job seekers may think that since it’s summertime, the chance of finding work may be slim due to vacations and breaks from those who make staffing decisions, and in turn will take a break from the job search. The days of long vacations are gone and many companies operate the same, no matter what time of year. Sure, people still take vacations and the application process could take a little longer than normal, but there’s no sense in stopping your search and waiting through the three months of summer. Now is the time! You never know, summer could be the time when facilities are gearing up for the fall and winter, so it’s best to a step forward.

Take advantage of summer activities with friends and family. You can meet so many different people during all the weddings, BBQ’s, get-togethers and so forth, so it’s the perfect time to network. Let it be known that you’re looking for work and who knows, you just might get a lead or two.

Even though it can take a little more work during the summer months to find that job, don’t give up. Be persistent and stay positive. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being lazy, so do what you can and keep to a schedule, even if you take an hour out of your day. Remember to leave polite messages with whomever you call. Everyone at that faciltiy is entitled to a break, even receptionists and on their return, they’ll be more apt to relay a nice message as opposed to one who is obviously annoyed that they haven’t been contacted. Even so, you even might get through to the hard to reach hiring manager since their assistant is away. You could now be a couple steps ahead of your competition as they wait it out through the summer.

Make use of your downtime and make sure you have everything in order from your licenses, resume and other pertinent information. Update your resume if you’ve accomplished anything as of late. Keep up to date with your skills and enroll in a couple classes if you must and while you’re there, network with other classmates. Perhaps they know of opportunities that may be well suited for you but not for them.

It’s summertime and living can be easy… Just take note of the suggestions above and before you know it, you could land that perfect job before fall arrives.

foursquare.com is a great tool for traveling PTs

foursquare is a great site for traveling ptsDo you want a fun, and slightly addictive, way to tell your friends and family what you are up to during your travel physical therapy assignment? If you have a smart phone, then give foursquare a try. If you don’t have a smart phone (iPhone, Google Android, BlackBerry or Palm) then you can text your location or use a laptop too, but I don’t think you will get the same experience out of it.

foursquare is a combination of a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game where you are rewarded for being interesting and doing interesting things. Their goal is help you keep up with the places your friends go and encourage you to explore new places.

The premise is simple:

Go somewhere cool? Check in.
Go somewhere new? Check in.
Go somewhere often? Check in.
Go somewhere popular? Check in.
Go somewhere late at night? Check in.

When you do those or similar things you earn badges and then you can brag. Go somewhere enough and you can be the “Mayor” and who doesn’t want to be Mayor. In bigger cities where foursquare is catching on a lot of business are starting to offer discounts to foursquare users and even special customer status to “Mayors”.

And if you are kind of a nerd then you will enjoy the detailed stats that measure things like:

  • Days checked in
  • Number of checkins
  • Avg checkins when out
  • % of checkins at new places
  • New places discovered
  • Distribution by day of week
  • Distribution by day
  • Top friends 
  • Number of different friends you’ve checked in with
  • Most frequented venues 
  • Number of different venues visited
  • Most frequented cities  mayorships 

You can not only check in and let your friends know where you are or have been, but you can also give them tips about the locations you have been to. You can of course check on their locations too if they are sharing them.

If you come across a location that is not already in the foursquare database, don’t worry you can add it.

You can even follow brands (like the ones below) and find new cool things to do or places to eat.

Bravo
Bravo
ZAGAT
ZAGAT
VH1
VH1
Lucky M.
Lucky M.
Thrillist
Thrillist
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
Bon Appetit Magazine
Bon Appetit Magazine
HISTORY Channel
HISTORY Channel

Set up is super easy too.

First you build an account by giving some basic information name, email, gender, age, etc, phone number. After your account is set up it asks you if you want to look through your Facebook profile or Twitter account for friends or followers that may already be using foursquare. Then it gives you the chance to invite any friends and followers you have who aren’t to join you, you can also send people an email that asks them to join you. Then when you’re done it gives you the chance to connect with your Facebook page or Twitter account if you have so they are all synced up.

And if you are a private person, there are privacy options you can turn on to limit what see people see of your check-ins. And deleting your account is easy too.

What is cool about foursquare for travel physical therapists is that you can get badges all over the country. It could be a really fun way to look back over a year or two of traveling and see where you’ve gone, who you met etc. Take a look and let us know what you think.

What to expect as a new grad moving into a travel physical therapy career

s a physical therapist new grad or one approaching graduation in the coming year you may find your friends and family starting to ask a lot of questions. Questions like:

  • Where you are going to work?
  • How much are you going to make?
  • What do you want to focus on?
  • How are you going to pay off your school loans?

If you are facing similar questions, I came across a great article from a physical therapist after his first year as a travel PT that you may find helpful. He had similar questions before he started down his career path, so if you are considering a career in travel physical therapy yourself it is definitely worth reading. You can find it here.

Here are some of the highlights:

Before you start you will need to:

  • Be prepared to be met with skepticism from professors concerning the experience and environment they think are needed for new grads
  • Keep an open mind to their warnings, but also to the possibilities of a travel career
  • You will realize the benefits of a traveling physical therapy are great for new grads
  • Be prepared with questions be afraid to ask them of the travel physical therapy companies, it is your career we’re talking about

After you start you will:

  • Learn that a travel PT career allows for great control over your post education education (the stuff you learn that they don’t teach you in school)
  • Realize that the risks everyone warned you about probably won’t happen
  • Have the ability to control your environment much better than a single job lets you
  • Be exposed to different management and clinical operation strategies making you a more well rounded therapist
  • Find that a travel physical therapy job offers great compensation thanks to high starting salary, real hourly pay and tax-free housing and living allowances, which means you can pay down your student loans faster
  • Get great benefits including health and dental insurance, as well as access to a company 401k plans
  • Enjoy the chance to take 1-2 week breaks between assignments made even more possible by high pay

So give the article a read and remember there are tons of opportunities out there to begin your physical therapy career.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 1 – Know what you are looking for.

Before you start out in your travel therapy career you need to evaluate exactly why you want to travel and what you hope to get out of it.

  • Do you want to make more money?
  • Are you trying to gain more experience to start your own practice someday?
  • Do you want to broaden the kind of patients you work with?
  • Are you looking for a change of pace?
  • Do you want to improve your current skills? Be exposed to new ones?
  • Are you interested in meeting new people?
  • Intrigued by new places?
  • Just need an adventure before you settle down?
  • Need an adventure now that the kids are in college?

Whatever your reasons are for choosing a travel rehab career it is important to know them going because they will guide many of the decisions you will have to make about the assignments you take and other key decisions as you move further in the travel rehab job process.