Travel Sonographers Take The High Road
Being a traveling sonographer is not for everyone. You may elect to take long or short term assignments and have the flexibility to take time off when you want to .
I have completed two travel positions for hospitals, this by far does not make me an expert on travel sonography I just wanted to share my experience and hear about yours. One of the jobs I loved and extended three times, the other not so much, and when my eight weeks were up I was out. At the first site, the Cardiologist was a little set in his ways and hard to grow accustomed to at first, but it was a small hospital and I was the only cardiac sonographer and I had shared work space with two general sonographers. Having the “upper” hand, because when you travel you are essentially your own boss, I could do the job to the best of my ability with the frame of mind “ this is only for eight weeks”, or I could do the job to the best of my ability with the frame of mind, “ hmmm I could do this for another eight weeks”. It was a gloomy start because I would walk into a dark, dreary ultrasound work area but in it there was two of the most beautiful, energetic, knowledgeable amazing young ladies with their whole lives still ahead of them that I couldn’t help to think in the back of my mind, I have got to do something to lift this place up for all of us. Taking a risk without trying to step on toes and claim any territory and hoping to boost the mood, I went right to work and hung up inspirational signs and decals, the place up, and implemented better organization. I did this not for recognition, but that in hopes that even after I was gone I would be remembered, and continue to be a part of how they feel every morning. I wanted them to enjoy coming in to work (as much as it can be enjoyed) and to be able to pass that warm feeling along to their patients they greeted every day. Needless to say this is the site I ended up extending my contract with, I enjoyed working with those girls and I wasn’t ready for the time to end so quickly.
One of the perks to the traveling jobs is deciding how long you want to stay and when it’s time to go. Some travelers go to work and don’t make friends, I don’t believe in that philosophy, I find that if you make friends at a facility and form connections, not only does it make for a friendly work environment but also they will want you to stay or come back when they need help again.
The second travel job was challenging due to office conflict that already existed before I got there, and I mean a lot of it, but also a supervisor who had kept the department organized and implemented a structured workflow had recently left for another opportunity. After being there only a week I realized why there was so much office conflict, a segregated department with a handful of women where the whole day consists of complaining and talking behind each others backs, and comparing how much work or lack there of that each has done. Thankfully there were two males who bring some much needed testosterone to the department to break up some of this “song and dance”. This is one place I actually felt bad for the manager who inherited this department and sadly one of the worst unorganized, unstructured, dirtiest places I have ever worked, not just in travel but in general.
This was a small hospital in a rural area four hours from where I lived, and although I could go home on the weekends, depending on what you are looking for when it comes to the travel business, taking in account being away from family and familiarity is just one of the challenges that comes with the job. Other challenges include the possibility of having to learn a new ultrasound system and the medical department computer system each time, as well as preparing yourself for the different ways the department implements their daily routines, as it may be different from what you are use to or from a previous facility you worked.
One of the attractions of working in the healthcare industry is the variety of people and experiences health professionals encounter. Traveling sonographers enjoy an even greater array of experiences because they fill temporary positions as needed for different employers in various locations. How far the sonographer is willing to travel is a personal decision. A sonographer may choose to work for a staffing agency, rather than start a contracting business on their own because the agency invests the necessary resources to find the available work assignments. The staffing agencies are also likely to offer benefits like medical and malpractice insurance.
Although this is my last travel sonography job due to moving on to better opportunities for me, I am finding out about more travel Sonographer resources that are out there that I wish I knew about previously. For instance I put it out there asking if there was a forum or a place sonographers can go to express their concerns or talk about their experience or maybe even to get some travel advice, that’s when I came across a forum on Facebook called “Traveling Sonographers”, a place where travel jobs are posted and sonographers can ask questions and share their experience. This site also offers a mentor-ship that matches you with someone with similar interests and experiences that connects you via messenger to chat with your mentor.
In the long run this is an ideal job that offers good pay and a lot of freedom of choices as far as control over your work schedule since assignments can be accepted or rejected. It’s also an opportunity to gain experience working in a variety of healthcare settings that include hospitals, clinics, physician offices, etc. If you like to travel it’s a great way to see places you have never been and maybe always wanted to go along with meeting new people and establishing lifelong friendships. After all Jobs fill your pockets, but adventure fills your soul.