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A Family Affair: Traveling with Loved Ones

For Etzer Dijkstra, PT, working as a mobile allied healthcare professional is a family affair. In addition to traveling with his wife, Kim, who is an cccupational therapist also on assignment with Med Travelers, the duo bring along another important member of the family to each assignment they book — their two-year-old son.

The Dijkstras have been on assignment with Med Travelers for the past three years, with the exception of some time they took off for the birth of their son.

“We chose Med Travelers because when we put the travel companies together, Med Travelers had the best options, the biggest customer base and the best pay and benefits,” Etzer said.

“We have been keeping tabs on other companies, and again, none of the companies are even able to promise anything in terms of a salary that is close enough to Med Travelers’ base salary.”

Depending on several factors, Etzer and Kim try to take assignments at the same facility, or at different facilities that are close to each other.

“For the past two assignments, it has worked out that we’ve been working in the same facility," Etzer explained, "but in general, the goal is to be within a 30- to 40-mile radius so we can find something that is more or less in between daycare and we have an equal commute.”

With their home base in Pennsylvania, Etzer and Kim have taken several assignments in states throughout the East Coast, but their favorite place to go is Florida — a sun-soaked escape from the frigid Northeast winters. In fact, it was Kim who got Etzer to even consider traveling in the first place.

“I had no intention of doing any traveling, but she [Kim] kept talking about it,” he recalled. “Kim got a call from AMN and she said to me, ‘Honey, wouldn’t this be a great way to see a little bit of the country and to do what we are already doing but just traveling at the same time?’ So that’s how the ball started rolling.”

Now, with three years of traveling under his belt, Etzer finds it hard to imagine his life any other way.

“I think a big part of the positive vibe we are getting from traveling is that AMN is able to find great places to work at,” he said. “I find that the quality of places that I have been working at so far have been pretty high.”

“Also, I feel like if we ever need anything, we never have to wait too long for our recruiter or someone from customer service to get back to us.”

In addition to being able to spend quality time with his family while on the road, Etzer’s favorite part of his mobile lifestyle is being able to explore different cities and states.

“The best part of traveling for work is seeing bits and pieces of the country and getting to spend 13 weeks in one area where you would normally go on vacation or a weekend trip, and you don’t get a chance to see everything. Now we get a chance to enjoy each place at our own pace.”

Traveling as an allied healthcare professional has also allowed this husband and wife team to expand their professional skills and experience.

“Kim and I were both stuck in the long-term care field because we both didn’t know if we were professionally able to work in any other field, and then my first assignment was in an outpatient clinic — which I had never done on this side of the ocean. Now, we have both been working in a rehab hospital and it just adds a lot to our resume and our toolbox.”

Although Etzer has his family to rely on while away from home, he advises other travelers to strike up conversations with colleagues during the lunch hour as a foolproof way to make friends on assignment.

Are you ready to explore? Search jobs at Med Travelers to find the position best suited for you.

By Melissa Hagstrom, contributor

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