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    You Asked, We Answered

    Experienced recruiters from the industry respond to your traveling questions


    Life on the road can be exciting and full of adventure, but there also can be a lot of uncertainty.

    More than one traveler has contemplated such questions as, "What opportunities are out there?" and, "Does traveling carry risks in addition to the rewards?"

    Then there are the nagging logistical considerations such as getting to an assignment and setting up a residence when you first arrive. It can be a load of information to process.

    Healthcare Traveler polled readers and staffing companies to determine some of the most frequently asked questions that mobile professionals raise. In this article, we compiled some of those questions and presented them to three experienced recruiters so they could explain what all travelers should know.

    Where do you have assignment opportunities?

    Donna Cresanta: Assignment locations change all the time. They can change on a daily basis, or even sometimes hourly.

    Shambra Speckmiear: Travelers become interested in specific locations because they have a bucket list of where they want to go before they hang up their travel shoes. For first-time travelers, though, being open to a variety of locations is absolutely key. A lot of hospitals are requesting candidates with travel experience, so while that first contract might not be a place you ever dreamed of going, it's worth getting that assignment under your belt. Once you have the first travel experience, then you are better able to navigate where to go next.

    Kate Brown: Lots of times people, especially therapists new to the mobile lifestyle, want to go to exciting, popular destinations like New York City, San Francisco, Denver, and San Diego. Part of my responsibility is to educate travelers on where the jobs are and help them set realistic expectations. For example, it is difficult to obtain travel positions in cities where there are universities offering degrees in physical or occupational therapy because the schools fill clients' needs. Sometimes, the very popular locations don't have travel positions because those communities have enough local talent. I ask individuals to be open to a variety of locations to give them better choices for job opportunities.

    How many years of experience do I need before I can travel?

    Speckmiear: The industry standard has always been one year of clinical experience; however, my best advice is begin traveling with at least two years experience in your specialty. That's not to say if you only have one year that you're not going to find a job, but it may be more difficult. Also, I recommend obtaining credentials or certifications to give you an edge. Managers look at what's on the profile we submit, so you have to be able to sell yourself on paper in order to motivate them to pick up the phone and call for an interview.

    Cresanta: I've worked with nurses with less than two years experience, but it's a matter of setting expectations. If you have nurses with a year and half of experience, chances are they are not going to get into UCLA, The Johns Hopkins, or Duke University right away. Also, more hospitals are looking for nurses with experience in multiple specialty areas. They want medical/surgical and telemetry nurses who have advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and basic life support (BLS) certifications. Some places want emergency room nurses to have ACLS, BLS, of course, but also pediatric advanced life support and trauma nurse core curriculum. Different hospitals look for different credentials.

    Brown: I would say the allied health side is a bit different. We have many clients that will look at therapists with all different experience levels. I have successfully placed new graduates in travel assignments, primarily physical and occupational, not so much on the assistant level, although some opportunities exist there, too. As long as they have passed their national boards and have some clinical experience, we are generally able to find them assignments.


    Anne Baye Ericksen
    Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, California.