Overcoming Challenges in Travel Speech Therapy Jobs
When you’re planning to embark upon a job as a travel speech therapist, you’ll rely on your recruiter to help you navigate many tasks on your “to-do” list.
Recruiters help you hammer out the details, from finding the right speech-language pathologist (SLP) assignment to preparing for interviews to signing the contract. They’ll also connect you with their fellow experts who can help with state licensing and credentialing, traveler housing, and payroll and benefits.
But even with an efficient team in charge, you may still encounter a few challenges on the job. As you prepare for a new travel speech therapy job, here are some tips and strategies to help you be successful.
Tips to Overcome 7 Common Challenges for Travel SLPs
- You’re new to the travel SLP lifestyle, and you have a lot of questions.
Make a list of questions for your recruiter, and remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Your recruiter has worked with many other travelers, and they’ve heard it all! You can also find answers to some traveler FAQs.
Once you start an assignment, make it a point to check in regularly with your recruiter to let them know how things are going. They can then help with any additional questions that may pop up.
- You’re interested in a travel speech therapy job in a new, unfamiliar state.
No one expects you to know the details about SLP licensure in every state. While the requirements are similar, they can vary from state to state. For example, you may need to get an educational certificate in some states if you plan to take a job as an SLP in a school-based setting. You can learn more about each state’s requirements from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which maintains an online database of information.
The Club Staffing credentialing team also knows the ins and outs of any state where you’d like to work. They can help you navigate the process of getting the right licenses and certificates once you’ve agreed to take on a travel SLP job.
- You’re anxious to start your new job on the right foot.
As a newbie on the job, try to learn as much as you can about your new organization before you arrive. Start by talking to your manager to make sure you’re clear on their expectations from the outset. Ask lots of questions and really listen to the answers. Additionally, talk to your co-workers and let them know you’re invested in being a team player, which will encourage them to open up to you and help you out.
- You’re a little nervous about living and working in a new place.
We get it: change can be scary. But travelers should be open to trying new things, and exploring new locations! Ask your new co-workers about fun places to visit and activities to try. Look for opportunities to meet people with similar interests through Meetup. And lean on your recruiter for some advice, since they’ve probably placed travelers in your community before and may have some great ideas for you.
If you’d like to travel with a companion, that can also be arranged! Just talk to your recruiter about the accommodations you might need to bring your family, friend, and/or pet along.
- You have difficulty staying organized.
Staying on top of paperwork and other organizational tasks can be a challenge, but it’s a key part of your job as a traveling speech therapist. Depending on your assignment, you may have to deal with online patient records at an acute care facility, or student IEP plans across multiple schools.
Find a techie who can help you master digital systems. Study up on strategies to help maintain your schedule and client records. Ask the office staff for help filing the appropriate forms, etc. And take time out each week to file, purge and reorganize your speech therapy materials that are constantly in use. Check out these additional tips for staying organized as an SLP. With some trial and error, you can find the tools and systems that work for you.
- You want to be ready to meet your client’s needs.
Plan ahead! Learn what you can about each patient or client before your first meeting together. Put together a list of speech therapy tools and resources for yourself and your clients. This might include speech therapy mobile apps and take-home materials that you can recommend. Prepare extra activities that you can use during a session if it progresses faster than you anticipated.
- You encounter a particularly challenging case, and you need additional guidance.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can turn to new colleagues or long-time mentors for ideas, consult a professional organization like ASHA, or check out trusted SLP resources including websites, books, and peer-reviewed journals. You can also check in with Club Staffing’s team of clinical experts.
The Keys to Success in Travel Speech Therapy
Ultimately, the keys to success as a travel speech therapist include keeping the focus on your clients, keeping an open mind, and being tenacious enough to keep striving forward. Be confident in your professional skills, but don’t assume that your way is the only way. Learning from new co-workers and patients is one of the chief benefits of SLP travel assignments.
The right mindset can help you be prepared for any challenges that come your way, and the right staffing team can provide the support you’ll need along the way.
Club Staffing, an AMN Healthcare company, has hundreds of travel speech therapy jobs across the U.S. Our dedicated team of experts can also guide you through every step of the process.