I’m often asked “what made you choose travel therapy?”, and this is a blog all about travel therapy after all isn’t it?
During PT school I felt so lost with everyone knowing what setting and/or specialty they wanted to go into. All I can remember thinking is “Anything but a SNF” (this statement will come back to bite me, but I hope you find the same humor in it as I do reading on). I figured as much I would end up in outpatient, why not? My mom had mentioned travel therapy before and I was just like “huh, maybe”, and moved on from it. Like any mother, she took this and ran with it. Anyone she met, I was apparently going to be a travel therapist. My first clinical was acute care in Southern Pines/ Pinehurst, NC. It was both amazing and difficult. I was working full time for no pay, while still taking classes and exams (what they don’t mention when persuading you to be a part of a 2 year DPT program). So having a social life was difficult and I was lonely. I’m an extrovert, so sitting in an air bnb with nothing to do on a Saturday drove me crazy. I just thought, “there is no way I could do travel, it is too lonely.” I had a friend agree saying she could not see me doing it for that reason. During that time in NC I went on dates (fail), and I did make friends with a colleague who I still keep in touch with, respect, and adore. Erin if you are reading this, thank you so much for your awesome friendship during that time and random check-in texts still to this day.
Flash forward to my second clinical in outpatient. I adored the team and liked outpatient well enough. The regional director had come in one day and asked if I would want to go look at a few other clinic locations with them the next week. Well, of course I do. It went well, there was a clinic or two I could see myself at, but they never mentioned the location I was working at as an option. (A PT was about to leave and I loved my CI). The director told me to take the weekend to consider my options and she will come in next week and we can start the paperwork. Now if you know me, which you don’t, but you will if you continue to read, commitment TERRIFIES me. Not just relationships, freaking committing to buying a pair of leggings online I have to ask approximately 4 people their opinions. Let alone signing paperwork for a job I could be stuck at for years. I’m also loyal, so I knew I would end up there for 5 years at least unless I was just MISERABLE. In addition, I was NOT convinced I was going to pass boards on my first try and was worried that losing a job I didn’t even have due to failing boards would crush me. And during all this panic, I couldn’t help but think back to North Carolina and how I cherished that experience, that cute town, exploring a new place etc. I had spoken with a travel recruiter months back and my interest at the time was not piqued (as this was before my second clinical and I was more focused on graduating and passing boards than having a job right out of the gate). However, I still had his number saved, and decided to send him a text to further talk. Another recruiter replied as the one I was in contact with had moved on to his dream job, but this recruiter would be happy to talk. After about a 2.5 hour conversation on the phone, I knew my heart wasn’t ready for a permanent job. I prayed for guidance, sought out advice from others, and trusted my gut.
A few days later the regional director came (showing someone else MY clinical location for a prospect). I told them I very much appreciated the offer, but I could not see myself signing any papers at this time. I was still unsure of what setting I wanted to be in as I have only seen acute care and outpatient, and my heart was going back to my time in North Carolina. I also mentioned I really wanted to focus on passing boards (this was March, boards were July). I saw the warmth leave their eyes, “So, you’re just not going to make a decision until after you take boards?” Uhh… Yeah, is that such a crazy plan?! I told them I was grateful for the time they took with me and maybe down the road I hope they consider my employment if/when I decide to make a more permanent position. “Well, you know we are obviously not holding this position for you and will be moving on with our other options.” Yes of course (I’m not an idiot), and thank you again for this opportunity. I of course had my initial panic “I’m making a grave mistake.” It wasn’t until later both talking to PT there and my CI that I began to feel more confident in my decision. My CI couldn’t believe I was already asked to make the commitment of signing paperwork, and eased me by saying I shouldn’t be making that decision at this time.
After that, I carried on the process for signing up with a travel therapy company, passed my boards, and have been riding this crazy roller coaster of the travel therapy world ever since