In-demand PTA Traveler Brings Home on the Road

In 2020, Lisa A. began her career as a travel physical therapist assistant with Med Travelers, an AMN Healthcare company, and she’s already made quite the name for herself. She’s worked eight assignments, and she’s been such a valuable player each time that the onsite managers have all asked her to extend her contract. To date, she has worked exclusively for a large therapy and wellness system that keeps bringing her back to their various facilities.

“Lisa truly ‘rock stars’ every contract she does,” said her recruiter Megan T., who nominated Lisa for the agency’s Traveler of the Month award. “She is always willing to go above and beyond. She is just amazing and is exactly the kind of person that embodies an AMN traveler.”

Currently, Lisa is working on a physical therapist assistant (PTA) traveler assignment in a group of skilled nursing facilities in Sacramento, California. It’s her second stint as a traveler in Sacramento, after spending some time working in South Dakota. She arrived in mid-November, and she was supposed to finish her 13-week assignment in February.

But yes, she impressed her employers with her hard work and a good attitude, and they’ve already asked her to stay longer. She plans to take a week off, travel to her house in Oregon to check up on things and visit with friends, then return for another stint.

Embracing a Unique Aspect of PTA Travel

Many allied health travelers opt to live in corporate-arranged housing during their travel assignments. It’s easy, close to the assignment location, and paid for by the company. But some long for something a little more home-like.

Lisa liked the idea of being able to keep more of her own belongings, and her two beloved cats, with her during her travel assignments. So, when she realized that she would be spending a fair amount of time away from her home in Oregon, she put her housing stipend toward the purchase of a “second house” on wheels. This 17-foot travel trailer has become her home away from home during travel assignments.

All she has to do is hitch it up to her pickup truck and hit the road. Kitt and Lily (the aforementioned cats) just come along for the ride.

The trailer has also enabled her to rekindle an old friendship. Many years ago, Lisa had introduced two friends, who fell in love and got married. She lost touch with them over the years, but when she learned she was going to be working in Sacramento again, Lisa reached out to them. They invited her to park her trailer on their 10-acre horse farm and welcomed her into their family.

“I’ve been able to reconnect with them, and that’s been just wonderful,” said Lisa.

As an added bonus, she has enjoyed the opportunity to ride some of their horses during her downtime.

Advice for Travelers-to-be

As a PTA traveler, Lisa has learned so much, both professionally and personally. She has developed more confidence in her professional skills and has developed more effective coping mechanisms to help her manage stress.

She’s also learned a few things that she can share with rookie travelers. For example, she points out that the first day or two of any new assignment can be challenging—especially if it’s in a new-to-you facility. You’re new, you don’t know anyone, you might have a few issues with the computer system, and your new password might not work yet. That’s okay. Don’t panic and don’t give up, she encourages.

“You just have to get through that, and things will smooth out,” she said. “It will be okay. You just have to be flexible.”

You can always consult your recruiter, too, if you have questions or concerns about your assignment or the logistics. Lisa knows that Megan always has her back, and that’s reassuring. “I can always count on her if something is going on and I need some help,” she said. “She’s just a rock. I feel super-supported by her.”

Where will Lisa, Kitt, and Lily go next? “I don’t know yet!” Lisa said. “It’s kind of an open book right now. So we’ll see.”

She is thinking that she might stick closer to her Oregon home next time. But other than ruling out anything that would involve “extreme weather,” Lisa is keeping her options open. She knows she will make the best of it, regardless of where she ends up.

“I just try to find the good in anywhere that I go,” she said.

And that really sums up why Lisa was chosen as Traveler of the Month. “I am so lucky to work with her,” Megan said.

Med Travelers is seeking talented and dedicated allied health professionals for thousands of travel assignments across the U.S. Connect with one of our friendly recruiters to start your journey.

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