New Allied Traveler? How to Prepare for Your First Assignment
By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor
So you’ve made the decision to take your skills on the road and become an allied travel professional ... now what?
Step one: take a deep breath and get ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime. Whether you are a new graduate or a veteran with numerous allied healthcare jobs under your belt, we know that starting a new adventure can be a little intimidating. So we’ve gathered some basic tips to help you get ready for your first assignment.
Lean on your recruiter
If you’ve been in the market for allied healthcare jobs and have secured an assignment, you’ve probably already developed a trust-based relationship with your recruiter. This won’t end once you’ve secured a contract. In fact, many allied travelers say it’s just the beginning of a long-term partnership.
Your recruiter should be able to address questions about the details on your contract, your housing and other important facets of allied travel. Make a list of items that you need to clarify and schedule some time to discuss it as soon as possible before your start date; then stay in touch as needed. Most medical staffing agencies like Club Staffing will provide online forms to streamline your employment documentation, and can even provide a suggested list of items to pack.
In addition to all of the information you will receive from your agency, some facilities also send out welcome packets to travelers. Each assignment is different, so be sure to read over everything and review it with your recruiter--regardless if it is your first assignment or your fifteenth.
Understand your pay & benefits
Travel pay rates are competitive with permanent positions, but will vary by assignment, specialty, location and experience, so be sure to confirm the details with your recruiter before you agree to take the job. You’ll want to understand your total compensation, including hourly rates, overtime, bonuses, reimbursements and benefits. Some contracts offer guaranteed hours, as well.
If you travel with a reputable agency like Club Staffing, you will also receive a comprehensive benefits package. Our allied travelers receive free housing (agency-provided or a housing subsidy to choose your own); medical, dental and vision insurance; life insurance; 401(k) retirement plan; free continuing education; travel reimbursements; incentive programs, and more. Voluntary benefits such as critical illness/disability insurance, accident insurance, hospital indemnity, and legal services are also available.
The power of positivity
You’re a skilled and experienced allied healthcare professional, so don’t fall into the trap of self-doubt and insecurity. Remind yourself that you got this travel contract because of your qualifications, and consider trying out a positive internal mantra if insecurities start creeping in.
Each assignment is a new learning experience, so going into your allied healthcare jobs with a positive, open mind will help you get the most from your experience.
You’ve got all of your ducks in a row--your contract is signed, housing is secured and it’s time to hit the road. Even with all of your advanced preparation, it is important to get to your assignment destination a few days before your official start date. Arriving early will give you a chance to unpack, get a feel for your surroundings and test your commute to be sure you know where to go and won’t arrive late on your first day.
Before your first shift, set out your clothes, any first-day documentation your new employer has requested, and some healthy snacks to get you through the day or night. Finally, get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep and get ready to wow your new colleagues with your professionalism and clinical skill.
Club Staffing advances allied health careers with travel jobs for therapists, technicians and medical imaging professionals. Apply today to get connected with one of our staffing professionals.
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