There are tons of reasons for imaging specialists to hit the happy traveling trail at any stage in the career game.
Adventure, variety, freedom, moolah—just to name a few. Whatever your why is, take a few of these insider insights from a laid-back imaging pro in the know.
A lil’ background on our humble expert:
Donald is an X-ray and CT tech with nearly 30 years of experience and has been on and off the road off for the past 14 years traveling around just about every region in the U.S.
“I started as a Navy hospital corpsman in 1989. Once I got out of the Navy, it took a few years for me to make it back into school (life happens, right?), but I’ve mainly been in healthcare ever since,” Donald explains.
He’s also a married family man with two kids, now in their twenties. During the first part of his career, his wife and kids stayed home while he traveled. As the kids got older, the family became a traveling band and live life together wherever placements take them.
(Here’s the happy couple in Greece. Beautiful times!)
Like many of you, Donald finds boredom a real snooze.
That’s one big reason he finds travel imaging rewarding. There are always people to meet and relationships to be made. There’s (sometimes) new tech to school yourself on. And there’s always a new area to roam, restaurants to savor and places to catch some local music or art shows.
It’s an experience. One that can be brief or for the long haul. Regardless, if you’re considering getting into travel imaging or are just starting out, take Donald’s advice to heart to make your career road trips cool across the board.
Gain on-the-job experience before experiencing travel imaging.
Honing your skills in the classroom is just the first leg of the journey. As a traveling imaging specialist, you don’t have the grueling luxury of lengthy orientation. To be successful, you should be able to hit the ground running day one.
“When you step into a new facility, you need to adjust quickly,” said Donald. “A traveler likely only gets a day, day-and-a-half to get oriented. You’re expected to work independently and won’t get much hand holding.”
Jump in and get the job done.
This ties in nicely with gaining a little experience before traveling. Sure, you won’t know every in, out and nuance of the new facility you’re walking into, but you’ve got the basics down. Be laid-back and independently take care of the things you know need to be done.
“The way I look at it,” Donald said, “no matter where you’re assigned, you can jump in and take care of the simple jobs that help get you in the flow of the facility and show others you came there to work and not mess around.”
“Even if you don’t know the computer system, you know the basic things that people do as far as changing the table, changing the room over and getting the room prepared for the next patient,” adds Donald.
Think of new people as part of the adventure.
You’re bound to find yourself swimming, hiking, biking, shopping, eating, dancing and sightseeing. The personal and professional relationships gained on the road are experiences worth spending time with as well. It’s important to come into an assignment with a level head and an open mind.
“Treat people like people,” Donald advises. “I think of being a traveler as more than just going out and seeing places. It’s nice, but I always look at it as a chance to get to know different people. I have the chance to form relationships I can take with me for the rest of my days. I can see the places I’ve been in pictures and take them out to reminisce any time, but the relationships and friendships formed—it’s just cool and matters more to me.”
Don’t think travel imaging is just for extra-extraverts.
Everyone has a comfort zone. Travel imaging is your chance to step outside of it a little or a lot—it’s up to you. For example:
“Don’t be afraid to go places just because you’ve never been far from home before,” said Donald. “If you’re interested in being a traveler, try it. Most assignments are 13-weeks, and you have the chance to talk with friends and family during that time. There’s a great big country out there, it’s worth going out and seeing it.”
Want to talk to other travel imaging specialists about their experiences or check out some job opps across the country? Go for it!