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Building Blocks to a Successful Travel Healthcare Career

Whether you’re a new graduate in search of a challenging opportunity, or a seasoned healthcare professional looking to further develop your expertise, building a career in travel healthcare could be a rewarding option. According to Marc Malpeli, a Staffing Manager on The Execu|Search Group’s Travel Nursing Health Services team, “A travel career provides you with new experiences, flexibility in location and occupational settings, and the opportunity to proactively develop your clinical experience to remain competitive in the healthcare market.”

Therefore, if you have a genuine passion for helping people no matter where that might take you and you consider yourself to have a “traveler spirit,” a career in travel healthcare might be a great path to pursue. To break into this high in demand field, here are some areas to think about to get you on your way.

The high demand for travel healthcare professionals

In a field that is constantly evolving and sometimes highly unpredictable, demand for health services from insured Americans has reached unprecedented levels. As a result of this demand, healthcare facilities are increasingly turning to travel healthcare professionals to step in during times of need in order to continue to operate at an efficient level. For example, here are a variety of scenarios that can arise where your expertise may be needed:

  • Healthcare epidemics – A major epidemic can call for an influx in healthcare professionals to take on the increased patient load. Travel healthcare professionals aid the understaffed facility for a finite time period in order to maintain regular patient care.
  • Medical leaves of absence – Unforeseen accidents may force employees to take medical leave in order to recover. During that time period, a travel professional could fill the role of the staff member for as short as 4 weeks or as long as 26 weeks.
  • Maternity/paternity leaves – When healthcare professionals take maternity or paternity leave a travel healthcare professional would provide their services for the employee on leave in order to maintain regular workflow until they’ve returned.

The right candidate profile

While there are a variety of specialty areas within travel healthcare, travel candidates must possess a graduate degree from an accredited institution in a medical-related field, such as Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, or Nursing and pass the essential licensing exam(s) to practice in the state of your choice. “After this, gaining hands-on experience at a particular type of facility will help (i.e., hospital, nursing home, school, etc.) you hone in on what specialty area you might want to practice,” says Robert Palermo, a Staffing Manager on Execu|Search’s Travel Allied Health Services team. Job seekers who are licensed and fully credentialed, who know what patient population they want to work with, and what type of facility they like working in, are excellent candidates for travel opportunities.

In order to thrive as a travel healthcare professional, it’s also important to stay at the forefront of changes in technology, government regulation, and industry changes, so it may be helpful to acquire additional specialty certifications that may help you stand out throughout your job search.

Soft skills to enhance your travel career

A travel career could take you to the chilly peaks of Maine or to the cool beaches of California, and as a result you will have to possess the right type of transferable skills in order to hit the ground running in your new location with your new employer.  “In the end, it will be a combination of your soft skills and overall professional background that will help you thrive in the travel healthcare industry. As long as you maintain a flexible approach to your career, the possibilities are endless,” says Marc. Agencies are constantly searching for travel healthcare candidates that possess these soft skills:

  • Confidence – As a travel professional, you should be unafraid of new challenges and should also be confident in your ability to join pre-existing teams in order to make the most of your new role.
  • Adaptability – Since a travel position can take you to many different places, how you’re able to adapt to the company culture and/or work ethic of different employers will play a major role in how effective you can be as a travel healthcare professional.
  • Ability to work in a fast environment – The unpredictable nature of the healthcare industry entails being able to work in a fast-paced environment and often under pressure. Being able to operate under such conditions is a useful skill to have as a healthcare professional.
  • Willingness to take criticism – Different facilities have varying ways of doing things, so if you’re doing something incorrectly or inefficiently that worked at your last place of employment, you should always be willing to take constructive criticism in order to be a better asset to the facility.

To learn more about our Travel Allied Healthcare & Travel Nursing Services, please contact:

Robert Palermo | Staffing Manager – Travel Allied Healthcare | rpalermo@execu-search.com | 212.871.0621

Marc Malpeli | Staffing Manager – Travel Nursing Services | mmalpeli@execu-search.com | 212.204.5105

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