How do registered occupational therapists Katie Elmore, 29, and Ross MacDonald, 32, make their travel assignments even more fun, exciting and meaningful? They do them together!
And according to the couple, who have been dating for about two years, traveling together has been a priceless opportunity, both personally and professionally.
Before traveling together
Katie and Ross met on Instagram, when Ross ‘liked’ a picture of Katie. A few posted comments led to shared snaps on Snap Chat, which unveiled to the couple that they had a common bond: both were occupational therapists. Three months later, Ross, who worked full-time in a hospital in Alabama, was on a plane to meet Katie, where she was a traveler in Idaho.
"I started traveling for about a year and a half prior to meeting Ross," said Katie. "He visited me in Idaho, and then I put him in touch with my recruiter, Kristine Mallin. Ross started his first assignment in Washington, about an hour and a half from me. We'd meet up on the weekends."
Ross said, "Once I visited Idaho, I thought, ‘Man, I got to get out of Alabama.’ It was so beautiful. I had to start traveling."
This was in March 2016, and they’ve been traveling together ever since.
Benefits of traveling together
The couple admitted that traveling together started as a way to be together. But there are other benefits as well.
"I wanted to get closer to Katie of course, but outside of that for me it was about diversification," Ross said. "I wanted to expand my work portfolio, my resume, experience new settings, become a better OT, and get some management experience. There's a whole plethora of benefits to traveling as far as work experience and growth goes."
For Katie, she loves learning how different facilities work, about new cultures and what diagnoses you find. She enjoys learning how other facilities document cases.
"Every system is so different," she said. "You always find a different way to boost your productivity or to do something a little bit better or just learn something from who you're with. I think that's what I thrive on, just the knowledge that I gain. It just makes me a better OT all around and a better person. It's not only traveling just for work but also very personal reasons. You learn so much about each other and about yourself."
Since traveling together, the couple has never worked in the same facility. However, they have been able to stay within commuting distance of each other. So far, their travels have taken them to Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and then back to Alabama, where Ross owns a home. Currently, Katie is in North Mississippi while Ross works in South Mississippi.
A special friend
During their travels, the couple has formed a special relationship with Club Staffing recruiter Kristine. Ross said she is more than just a recruiter and is considered a friend. He appreciates how she regularly checks in on them, even after hours.
"That says volumes about a person’s character," Ross said. "I have a lot of respect for her and appreciate everything she does for us. She communicates very well, and that what it’s all about when you have a recruiter."
Katie has been so impressed with Club Staffing that she said she would like to work for AMN Healthcare someday. Club Staffing is an AMN Healthcare company.
In the short time working for Club Staffing together, the couple has compiled an impressive list of vacation hotspots.
"This is kind of corny, but have you ever seen the TV show The Bachelor?" Katie said. "Everything about that show is the people looking for love are always traveling. They're always going to amazing places. It's like a fantasy, but to us, we're always traveling and going to different places – but it's reality. And it's not going to stop."