Med Travelers Contest Winner Relishes Travel PT Jobs Close to Home
Traveling physical therapist plans dream vacation with Getaway Contest winnings
By Megan Murdock Krischke, contributor
Unlike many traveling physical therapists, Amanda Lohnas, PT, DPT, wasn’t planning to explore new areas of the country when she signed on with Med Travelers several months ago. Having just finished her doctorate in physical therapy, she was more interested in exploring different practice settings for physical therapy jobs close to home.
“When we had our clinicals, I liked all the different settings we were exposed to, but our time in each was so short,” Lohnas commented. “I didn’t feel like I had all the experience and information I needed to make a decision about where I wanted to commit. I chose to travel right out of school in order to get more experience in each of the settings. Rather than travel the country, my aim was to actually stay within a couple hours of my friends and family.”
She does like to travel, however, so when the Med Travelers’ $3,000 Getaway Contest came along, she was glad to fill out the survey and offer her feedback for a chance to win.
“I was so shocked when I got the email saying that I’d won,” Lohnas remarked. “I haven’t decided yet where I am going to go, but my plan is to use it toward a bigger trip like Europe or Hawaii; my dream vacation is to Bora Bora. I’m definitely going to put it toward something I wouldn’t normally do. I’m very excited to have this opportunity.”
Closer to home, this traveling physical therapist has been making the most of her assignment locations So far, Lohnas has taken physical therapy jobs in Amsterdam, N.Y., Boston, and Pittsfield, Mass. She chose to extend her contracts in all three locations.
“Despite being in Boston in the winter, and especially this winter, it is a great city. I sublet from a pharmacist and she showed me around the city. Now I am in The Berkshires--it is a beautiful area, very outdoorsy with lots of hiking trails,” she said. “It is nice to work with people who can give me the scoop on the best restaurants or hiking trails. I’ve met some great colleagues along the way.”
During her travel PT assignments, Lohnas has worked in sub-acute rehabilitation and in acute care in the hospitals; she still wants to do an assignment in home care.
“I think once I’ve done them all, I’ll make a decision and take a permanent position,” she reflected. “So far, at each of my assignments, I’ve been offered a permanent position, which I have graciously declined because I really do want to get a better feel for all the settings. But it is nice to know I have some great job options, once I know what I want to do.”
“Working as a traveler has definitely made me a better therapist and clinician, because I’ve had to think on my toes,” she continued. “It has also made me more outgoing. Working as a traveler has exposed me to areas of care I didn’t even know existed.”
Lohnas said she has really appreciated her Med Travelers recruiter, because as one assignment is ending, she is always on the ball looking for the next assignment.
“She knows how to keep me calm. Some people like to take a couple weeks off between assignments, but I don’t want to take any time off. So far I have liked all my contracts and haven’t had any bad experiences,” she stated.
In addition to travel and professional development opportunities, Lohnas appreciates the financial rewards that come from traveling. She said that working as a traveling physical therapist has allowed her to take vacations she wouldn’t have been able take otherwise, and she has started saving for her dream home.
She encourages other physical therapists who are new to traveling to ask plenty of questions during their travel PT assignments.
“People are willing to help. If you aren’t asking, they aren’t going to know how to help you. If you want a mentor, there are therapists who are willing to mentor--you just have to ask,” she encouraged. Med Travelers, an AMN Healthcare company, also offers clinical liaisons who are available to answer questions from travelers around the clock.
“If you are considering traveling, I’d say, 100 percent, do it! Whether you are in it to travel or to experience new care settings, you have nothing to lose. It is such a great experience,” Lohnas concluded.
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