Blog

Working away from family during the holidays? Here’s 4 things to do..

 

The holiday season has officially arrived. While normally a time filled with cheer and excitement, you may be feeling a bit different this year while traveling on a therapy assignment. With your family back home celebrating, it might seem more difficult to get into the holiday spirit. Don’t let this get the best of you – there are ways to cope with being away during the holidays and still ensure you enjoy the season.

To ease the stress or strong feelings that come with working away from family during the holidays, consider the following tips:

1. Reserve a seat at a local community theater production

If you’re looking for a nostalgic activity that’ll help you get into the Christmas spirit, head to a local theater for a production of one of your holiday favorites. This time of year, many theaters in towns near you put up their own version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,”  “A Christmas Carol” or other festive plays that are sure to help you feel less lonely around the holidays. Holiday songs are the best way to beat the blues.

2. Visit a theme park on Dec 25th

Are you a thrill seeker who loves riding roller coasters? If you’re away from family, this time of year is perfect for checking out your favorite theme park. Because it’s the holiday season, you won’t have to worry about navigating through a congested theme park and you probably won’t have to wait in any lines, either. Some of the destinations recommended by lifestyle blog Fodor’s Travel include Walt Disney World, Stratosphere Casino Tower and Six Flags Over Texas. If your assignment is on the opposite side of the country, check into your local theme parks and see if they are affiliated with any events happening this winter.

 

3. Check out the Christmas displays in area neighborhoods

No matter where your assignment takes place, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the country. Run a Google or Bing search for popular neighborhood displays, print off a map and make yourself a big travel mug of hot chocolate. Plug in your heated blanket, roll down the windows and enjoy the spirit of the season!

4. Buy a ticket to a local game

Whether you’re a regular sports enthusiast or you rarely watch sporting events, winter is the perfect time to attend your local team’s game. Maybe it’s basketball, hockey or football, or something more unique like roller derby – splurge and buy yourself a ticket to a sporting event around Christmas. Even if you’re not a big sports fan, you can still enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere!

No matter how you choose to spend your time away this season, always remember why you chose this career path in the first place. Travel therapy provides an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and expertise while caring for others across the nation, all while traveling and discovering new and exciting destinations. Keep this in mind if you start to feel lonely or isolated – your return back home will feel more satisfying and thrilling when you complete your assignment on a high note.

November is Native American Heritage Month

During November, most of the population is preparing for the holidays and the start of a new year. But did you know it’s Native American Heritage Month? According to the National Congress of American Indians, November is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions and historical events of Native Americans.

As a travel therapist, you have the opportunity to meet many unique individuals of various cultures. Understanding the beliefs and values of each cultural group can help you provide the most valuable care while treating each individual with respect. This month, let’s take a closer look at some of the potential challenges – plus solutions – for travel speech and language therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists working with Native Americans:

Historical insight

Due to the historical oppression of indigenous people, many Native American clients may find it difficult to trust in his or her therapist. When the No. 1 priority of all therapists is to ensure patients are comfortable and can confide in them, it’s important to learn how to build trust and help your patients feel confident in the way you provide care.

“Eye contact is normally avoided as a sign of respect.”

Some of the most common barriers when working with Native American patients revolve around understanding communication values. According to researchers at the Native American Cancer Research Corporation, eye contact is normally avoided. Native Americans tend to gaze at the floor during conversation – understand that it’s a sign of respect. Additionally, patients of Native American descent associate loudness with anger and hostility. They also take long pauses after questions, taking careful consideration into their answers before responding on a whim.

What travel therapists can do

As the Minnesota Psychological Association suggested, working with Native American patients is all about considering the three C’s: Context, Comfort and Communication. This theory revolves around understanding the context of your patients background and story, building a relationship with your client and using the right communicative tools and techniques based on the values and beliefs of Native Americans. Keeping this in mind, here are a few recommendations and tips while working with Native American patients:

  • Patience is key. Give your patients enough time to evaluate your questions thoroughly and speak their truth in regard to how they’re feeling.
  • Approach all patients in a calm demeanor. Avoid an excessive tone or emphasis when speaking while addressing care.
  • Keep Native American spirituality in mind during care. According to research by the Center for Health Disparities Research, clients believe it’s important to incorporate Native American spirituality into therapy, but not to use tribal spiritual or healing methods for care.
  • The CHDR recommended providers meet Native American individuals, find a Native mentor, or spend time in the community to get a better understanding of the culture and background.

Jackson Therapy Partners seeks to educate travel therapists on embracing all cultural values and beliefs when providing care. This month, take the time to pay close attention to the needs of Native American patients with respect to their values.

6 fun outdoor activities to try this fall

 

Now that the trick-or-treaters have gone it’s the perfect time as a traveling therapist to get out and enjoy some of the fun outdoor activities that bring out the nostalgia and cure the homesickness. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get to know some of your coworkers or other travel therapists nearby.

Add these festive events to your agenda this month:

1. Go on a ghost walk through town
Whether you’re on assignment along the West Coast, practicing in New England or making way down south, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the crisp fall air on a ghost walk through America’s most haunted cities. According to Time Out, some of the best ghost tours are in Savannah, New York City and San Francisco.

2. Visit a pumpkin patch
Looking for the perfect pumpkin to transform into a pie or decorate your front porch? Grab a few friends and head to the local pumpkin patch. And don’t let those pumpkin seeds go to waste – toss them with cinnamon sugar and roast them in the oven for a sweet and tasty fall treat.

Go apple picking this October. Go apple picking this fall.

3. Go apple picking
A trip to the pumpkin patch is key, but apple picking is a fall classic – especially if you’re on assignment on the East Coast. It’s the perfect place to grab the delicious fruit for a tasty apple crisp or as a treat for your clients.

4. Get lost in a corn maze
Gather your coworkers and head to a corn maze for a fun and exciting adventure. There are plenty of family-friendly options, but more difficult mazes exist for those who are up for the challenge.

6. Go on a hay ride
If the corn maze isn’t thrilling enough for you, grab tickets to the nearest hay ride at a local fall festival. Use this opportunity to taste the local dishes, make new friends, and experience an all new adventure.

No matter how you plan on spending this fall, consider all of these activities an opportunity to get to know other therapists practicing in your area. Traveling on assignment can be intimidating when you’re constantly moving from destination to destination, but fun activities dedicated to the season can help you put yourself out there and ease the tension that comes with meeting new people.