Couple Finds Allied Health Travel Worth Exploring
Nathan Fernandez, ARDMS, actually became a sonographer because he wanted to travel as an allied health professional.
"I met a guy who was working as a traveling sonographer and he told me all about his experience. I was excited about the lifestyle he described," Nathan remarked. “So I went to school and became a sonographer.”
Even though his plan was to travel, Nathan took a permanent sonographer job right out of school and that is where he met his now wife, Leah, a certified nuclear medicine technologist.
Nathan had to talk his wife into the idea of allied health travel initially, and she reported that the terrible commuting traffic in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the thought of all the new experiences they would have together won her over.
Right place, right time for travel
The couple traveled together for two and a half years before taking permanent positions back in Leah's home state of Wisconsin so that they could be nearer family for a season. After a year, the couple got back on the road in March when the nuclear medicine technologist opportunities in Wisconsin started to dwindle. The two say they aren't sure how long they will keep traveling, but they do hope to start a family in the future.
"I meet a lot of travelers and every traveler I’ve spoken to has to work with multiple agencies,” reported Nathan. “But Club Staffing just comes through for us--so we have always traveled with them. Our recruiter, Tisha Hamilton, works hard for us and is always finding us jobs, and if we have any problems she gets it worked out for us right away."
“Often it is easier to find Nate a sonographer job assignment,” said Leah. “Once he has an assignment, we will ask at the hospital if they need the help of a nuclear medicine technologist.” If nothing is available, they look for assignments nearby; the strategy has worked out in all but two cases, when the couple couldn’t get assignments in the same location.
Personal adventures and family visits
Whenever the pair has a day off together, Leah plans an adventure for them. Among their favorite places to explore so far: the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and the giant redwoods in California; Lynchburg, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; and the Crystal Caves in Arkansas. They’ve enjoyed sightseeing, hiking, whitewater rafting and more.
The pair always drive to their assignments, traveling with two cars; for longer trips, they tow the smaller car. Their goal is to work 10 months out of the year and spend the other time visiting family in Hawaii and Wisconsin.
“The best thing” for their careers
“My advice to other travelers would be to learn as much as possible. This is the best thing I’ve ever done for my career,” said Nathan.
“I’ve gotten to work with different doctors and it made me a better technologist overall. With all the experiences I’ve had, I can now walk into any place and do whatever they ask. Typically with ultrasound, if you stay in one place you just do one thing. Traveling has allowed me to do different types of exams and learn different types of tricks for getting pictures,” he concluded.
“I’d also say that traveling has been the best thing for my career,” added Leah. “I’ve learned how to use different cameras, follow different protocols and work with different doctors. On two assignments I worked by myself. It was challenging, but I got through it and that built a lot of self-confidence. It is a major plus that I’m now familiar with almost any system I encounter.”
“I’d also encourage travelers to enjoy the experience and try and see as much of the countryside and town you live in as possible. It doesn’t last forever,” Nathan reflected. “Eventually you have to settle down.” Until then, however, this pair of allied health travelers plans to enjoy the ride.
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