New Graduate SLP ‘Travels’ for Clinical Fellowship
Med Travelers recruiter paves the way for speech language pathologist to launch her career
By Megan Murdock Krischke, contributor
After graduating in June 2015, Kitara Mills, a speech language pathologist (SLP), connected with Med Travelers to coordinate her clinical fellowship year. Unlike most allied travel jobs that are typically 13 weeks, the clinical fellowship is a nine-month assignment, similar to a residency. The fellowship is required for SLPs to become fully certified.
Mills, who grew up in Ohio and earned her degree in Utah, had never been to Texas when she received her assignment in San Antonio, where she works at a skilled nursing facility. She has discovered that travel assignments can be a great way to start allied health careers.
“I have enjoyed the adventure of it all and trying something new,” Mills said of her experience as a traveler. “I’ve visited Austin, Houston and Dallas.”
Although she is traveling alone, Mills is staying with her aunt and uncle who live in San Antonio. This situation is allowing her to use the housing stipend she receives from Med Travelers toward paying off school debt.
“One challenge I faced was getting my license because, at the time I applied, the system was backlogged. I had already signed my travel contract and I was afraid the facility was going to back out,” she explained.
“But my recruiter, Kimberly, kept in contact with the facility here and encouraged them to wait for me,” Mills continued. “She stayed in contact with me every day to see if I had heard anything and was trying to get my license pushed through. Even though the delay in getting my license delayed my start date by three weeks, because of Kimberly keeping the lines of communication open, the facility waited for me.”
“I would definitely advise other potential travelers to look into how long it will take to get a license before you put down your start date,” she reflected.
“When I first signed up with Med Travelers, I thought that the only role my recruiter played was to find me a job. But I feel I can call her anytime with questions I have and she checks in with me regularly--I didn’t expect that at all,” Mills noted.
Another time Mills’ recruiter came through for her was when the local company she is working for wanted to send her to a different facility that is 90 minutes away from where she lives.
“I felt like I couldn’t do a three-hour commute every day but was concerned that I might have to,” Mills stated. “When I called my recruiter, she let me know that my contract protected me and that I didn’t have to move to a different facility. She had my back.”
What would Mills say to those who might be considering travel allied health careers?
“If you are thinking about traveling, I’d say it is good to try out new experiences--you get a different look at things. And, I like the idea that when a contract is over I don’t have to stay. If the situation wasn’t great, I can just move on,” she said. Because every assignment is different, she would also advise new grads to research speech pathologist salary rates before agreeing to a pay rate and signing a contract.
Mills has enjoyed her time in San Antonio so much that she is considering a permanent position there after her fellowship.
“I love the River Walk and that the Alamo is right here. There is so much to do in town and there is so much history. I’ve also visited Six Flags, a few museums and the University of Texas campus in Austin,” she said. “Even if I do take a permanent position now, I would definitely consider traveling in the future. It has been a great experience.”
Looking for SLP jobs or other opportunities with Med Travelers? Contact a recruiter today, or refer your friends for allied health careers and earn yourself a cash reward!
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