Meet SLP Traveler and Author, Sandra P.
Traveler of the Month Merges Her Talents in Travel SLP Jobs
Congratulations to Med Travelers’ Traveler of the Month: Sandra P.! Sandra is a speech-language pathologist who just began her current travel SLP job with a school district in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Early in her adult life, Sandra was a nurse. But fate led her into a second career as a speech-language pathologist, and she knew she wanted to work in a school setting. She finished her master’s degree in 1999 and never looked back. In 2013, she began working as a travel SLP, and she joined the Med Travelers team about two and a half years ago.
Sandra is grateful she took the leap to try travel SLP jobs, even if she was initially a little intimidated. Traveling opened up new possibilities for her on both a personal and professional level. “I was a very shy person, and traveling has actually brought me out of my shell. Now I’ll even talk to people I don’t know,” she says. “I’ve met so many interesting people doing this.”
Like many people who recently embarked upon traveling, Sandra found that COVID-19 affected her plans in ways she didn’t anticipate. During the course of her first two years with Med Travelers, she took on school SLP travel assignments with school districts located in Rhode Island, Arizona and Massachusetts. She started out working in person, but then her job was changed to a remote position. Her current assignment, in fact, is a remote job.
“Sandra is such a trooper and always so understanding and positive, even in difficult situations,” says her recruiter, Sarah H. “She’s been through a lot the past few years but always has a positive attitude and outlook on things, knowing everything will work out.”
Seeking creative solutions to speech therapy needs
One of the things that makes Sandra so special–and such a great SLP traveler–is her constant desire to help her students. As a result, she’s always on the hunt for materials to use with her students. Sometimes she even creates her own. Many students over the years have learned from Sandra’s articulation sheets, which help them practice the sounds they’re learning to make correctly.
Sandra also writes (and illustrates!) children’s books in her spare time. And yes, she often incorporates one of her books into the materials that she uses with her students. So, a student who’s fortunate enough to work with her might discover that the author’s name on their copy of Rainbow Bunnies might sound a little familiar. (Stay tuned for two upcoming books from this multi-talented writer, one of which has a Halloween theme.)
So, we can expect the students in the three elementary schools in Lake Havasu to gain a lot from the opportunity to work with Sandra this year. And after school gets out next spring? Sandra’s not sure where she’ll be after that. She’s really more focused on the work that she’s doing right now, helping her young students improve their speech and language skills.
But she definitely has embraced this type of job. In fact, she said that she wishes she had started working as an SLP traveler even sooner. With licenses to practice in 10 states, she will have lots of options available to her!
Sandra’s recruiter hopes she’ll stick around, too. “I am very grateful to work with her,” says Sarah.
Advice to future SLP travelers
Sandra’s advice to SLPs who are contemplating the idea of taking a travel job: do it! You can enjoy the freedom to do work that you were educated and trained to do, without having to worry about office politics. Sandra especially loves being able to focus just on the children, not whatever issues might be facing the school system.
As for practical advice, Sandra suggests that you bring things from home that make you feel comfortable. For instance, Sandra’s a quilter, so she always brings one of the quilts that she’s made, along with family photographs. Then, she says, just enjoy the experience.
“If you can do it, do it, and get that experience of going someplace else and working,” Sandra says. “You can always return home if you want afterward. But it opened me up to so many different places and experiences.”