Tell us about your medical background. How did you get into travel staffing?
I started out in 2011 in a pediatric lab that was joint cath/EP. I became a traveler in 2013, after about 2 years at the pediatric hospital. I wanted to see the country and make some extra money. I’m currently at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Have you worked with travel staffing agencies other than Soliant Health?
Yes, my first contract was with another agency. After that, I started working with Steve Yang at Soliant Health for all of my other jobs. After my first contract, it took a really long time for me to find the second one. At one point, I think I had contacted 7 agencies. However, I got in touch with Steve, and he found me the next job. Since then, it hasn’t been difficult to find a job.
What initial steps did you have to take with these agencies to become a travel tech?
I called about 2 or 3 travel agencies and had discussions with them about what travel staffing would involve, what kind of pay to expect, and other aspects of travel staffing. They all sent me online profiles to fill out to get started. The process took approximately 2 or 3 months, so by the time I got my first job, all the paperwork was filled out. I always find my own housing. For a previous job in Connecticut, I was having trouble finding housing. Steve suggested looking at Airbnb, and that is where I found a place to live! Airbnb is also where I got my first contract housing here in Seattle. I rent a house here from a couple who goes to Florida in the winter. Since I arrived in Seattle in January, the timing was perfect!
What type of hours do you typically work as a contract staff member?
I work 10-hour shifts, 4 days a week (usually 7-5:30 or 6:30-5).
Tell us about your very first travel assignment.
It was great! I still keep in touch with one of the people that I worked with. I was located in Aurora, Colorado, right outside of Denver, on an 8-week contract in a cath/EP lab. I was on the EP team, so I got to be in the EP lab at least 95% of the time. However, I did have to do cath lab call, which was kind of scary since I hadn’t worked with an adult population before. I also lived in an extended stay hotel, which wasn’t great, because I like to cook.
How many labs have you worked at so far as a travel tech, and which was your favorite?
I’ve been a travel tech at 4 labs so far. As for my favorite, it’s tough to choose between my favorite location or my favorite lab and staff. Seattle might be my favorite location because of the area — there is so much stuff to do here, and it’s so pretty with the mountains. My favorite lab and staff would be Hartford. I left in 2014, but I’ve been up there to visit a few times. During that contract, I lived with one of my coworkers’ families in Connecticut after I moved out of the Airbnb. I arrived in Connecticut in December, right before Christmas, so I spent the holiday with my coworker’s family. Her parents told me they had an extra bedroom and bathroom that I could rent from them. So when my first contract ended, I moved in with her parents and lived there for the next 6 months while I worked.
What are some of the challenges that you have found during the travel staffing experience?
Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve had that many issues. Getting a license to work in Washington was a little bit difficult. A license is required to practice in Washington; however, I was having difficulty getting my RCIS license to transfer to Washington. Because it took so much time, my paperwork was then mailed to my permanent address in Tampa, and I was already on way to Seattle. So my next contract was delayed a week and a half because my license wasn’t ready.
Who would you say is the ideal candidate to be a travel tech?
The ideal candidate is someone that can be flexible and laid back. You have to go with the flow and not try to tell people how to do things, even if you think you can do it better, you just have to sit back and watch whatever is happening unfold and be okay with that.
What other locations are on your wish list?
I would love to work in Hawaii and Alaska. I am also interested in working in Boston or Atlanta as well!
For more information on travel staffing, please visit mrcathlab.com.