At Advanced Health Education Center (AHEC), we often have individuals visit from other countries and incorporate an educational activity into their stateside visit. Last week we had two physicians from Poland who are currently on contract at the only hospital in Aruba. While they were here to formalize their ultrasound training, I had a chance to ask some questions about their travel experiences and how they felt it was enriching.
The traveling life makes for unusual experiences. Some people love it, some do not. While we salivate over the higher rates of pay often associated with travel assignments, there are usually reasons why the travel assignments are available anyway. There are assignments in cities where the rent is more than the contract worth, locations that are isolated and many miles from the grocery store, movie, or post office, and facilities where the work load is so high that the pay rates are truly earned.
Once you overcome the regulatory process for a license to practice in your travel situation, you will find that you may require multiple documents as the consistency between regions is nonexistent. There is also the question of medical malpractice insurance that provides coverage in multiple work situations. There are no benefits provided on contract assignments so you must provide your own health insurance, retirement savings, and tax payments.
Most health care professionals love the contract work because you get complete control over your schedule. That doesn’t translate to dictating your work assignments, only that you may choose where and when you work. It can be difficult to handle family emergencies or illness as the contract does not allow for cancellations. Once you have accepted the assignment, you are committed.
Another challenging aspect of the travel assignment is the difference in the equipment and the computer programs for electronic medical records. The responsibility for different phases of imaging varies around the globe. The best answer is to do your homework, travel for a reputable company, and be sure to have a plan for all those contingencies we haven’t thought of yet.
Maybe it’s the right life for you as the opportunities continue to improve and as the number of qualified travelers diminish.
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