With their 24/7 demand for skilled professionals, hospitals are forced to rely on a mix of workers who can fill everything from full-time slots to PRN needs. When they can’t cover all their shifts with local clinicians, many turn to travel agencies to fill the gap. While these jobs aren’t for everyone – clearly, RTs with kids still in school would think twice about travel – these jobs can be a very attractive option for some.
AARC member Rob Toothman, BSRT, RRT, recently became one of them.
A good way to see the U.S.A.
“I have been a respiratory therapist for eight years,” explains the West Virginia RT. “I was working in case management, and I wasn’t enjoying that and missed taking care of patients.” But patient care positions in his area were few and far between, and since he’s a single guy with nothing tying him to a certain locale, he decided to give travel RT a try.
Toothman is currently on his first assignment in York, PA, but he says he plans to travel across the country before it’s all over. “Some of the advantages are, you get to see different parts of the U.S.,” he says. “You also get to see different ways that respiratory care is practiced in different regions and different hospitals. I like being able to learn new ways to practice respiratory care and to bring different ideas to the areas that I travel to.”
Travel agencies like the one he works for provide housing accommodations for their clinicians, and most of them also offer information and assistance on acquiring the necessary state licenses and other issues as well.
Overcoming the drawbacks
Of course, everything has a downside, and for Toothman it is the lack of a permanent home and the fact that he doesn’t have a partner at his side. But he’s not letting those concerns compromise the experience.
“I overcome these drawbacks by trying to bring something from home to remind me of home and West Virginia,” he says. “I also try to find fellow travelers in the facility to sightsee with and explore.”
Toothman believes travel RT has a lot of offer, especially for specific groups within the profession. “I would definitely recommend being a travel therapist, especially if you are single. You can get out and see different parts of the U.S. and find a place where you’d like to settle down. You can also learn different perspectives on respiratory care.”