Overcoming regional communication differences from north to south & east to west

american surfer

american surfer

Traveling across the U.S. exposes traveling therapists and allied professionals to exciting new sights, cultures and cuisine. But, what many travelers aren’t expecting are the regional shifts in communication styles that can create a “language” barrier. While a career in traveling can push you outside your comfort zone, it can sometimes be a little more challenging than you expected. Here’s some differences you might face and a few universal responses that will help you cross all cultural and regional differences.

Building trust, making friends & “Good morning!”

While you’ll encounter dozens of friendly faces throughout each assignment, subtle communication differences can unintentionally cause you to leave a negative impression on folks around you. For example, a co-worker from a Midwestern state might be friendly and open right off the bat, while a client from the same region might fail to share important information during your therapy sessions because they think “complaining” is rude.

While simple greetings like “good morning” or “how are you” are expected from passersby in Southern states, co-workers from Los Angeles or NYC might react awkwardly to your daily intrusion. It’s not uncommon for folks from large cities to pass strangers on a sidewalk without a glance, while individuals from rural towns nationwide are accustomed to saying “hello” or meeting the eyes of strangers and smiling with a nod. Failing to engage in this pleasantry can leave the wrong impression in some communities.

  • Building trust is essential, especially if you’ve made a client or co-worker uncomfortable with your communication style. It’s not that you’ve done anything wrong, but you’re behaving in a way that is outside their “cultural norm,” which can cause basic distrust in any situation. Think of a loud and friendly cowboy from the West wearing his worn cowboy hat and boots in a local diner in Nashville vs. a small diner in Maine. One town’s patrons might find him fun and open, while the other might find him abrasive. Yet, if you hope to have positive work environments, or responsive clients, building trust is imperative. Paying attention to social cues can help you navigate new waters.
  • It’s also important to realize that certain regions expect that your close interactions, whether as a co-worker or client, naturally results in a type of friendship. Maybe not BFFs, but certainly more than strangers. So, if you’re consistently cool in your interactions, failing to ask friendly non-work related follow-up questions (i.e. did you tell me your son graduated?), you may encounter clients who are more and more distant, or a co-worker who stops asking you to lunch.

american cowboy

It’s not you, it’s me

Your patients can find you intimidating or too easy going based on your communication style – and vice versa – which can make it difficult to connect at first. Make sure you give yourself enough time to adapt to new styles and cultures throughout your travels so you can get a feel for the common communication style in each region. If you’re having trouble getting comfortable with patients over time, consider meeting locals at community events on a more regular basis to expose yourself to the culture around you and maybe even ask questions.

If one thing’s for sure about treatment, it’s that change is constant. This is even more evident for travelers. When faced with a group of patients who come off a little headstrong at first, don’t let it throw you off. Instead, have an open mind and gain perspective from a different point of view. This gives you an opportunity to try new techniques that mesh well with your surroundings. Flexibility in terms of actions and communication can encourage those around you to do the same.

Relationships are essential for treatment

It can be more difficult for patients to trust your advice and take it when they don’t feel comfortable with you, especially when there’s a communication barrier. Allowing time for your patients to talk about their lives with you builds a strong relationship, creating a better overall experience for both parties.

“Have an open mind and gain perspective from a different point of view”

Take time during each session to get to know your patients. Simple five minute conversations that don’t relate to therapy can help them open up and feel less insecure about the meeting. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, quick, regular conversations with patients give the therapist the foundation needed to understand each patient’s social history, routines, habits, values and more. By understanding these aspects of your patients, you can provide better treatment that is more specific to their needs and wants.

Remember: Traveling across the country means engaging with dozens of different personalities on a regular basis. Adapt accordingly to avoid offending patients so you can successfully connect with everyone in your practice.

Following the “cues” of folks around you is important as you attempt to build relationships and explore new regions nationwide. While every city and town can have it’s own little quirks and differences, regional shifts in culture can be broad.  Just by paying attention, you’ll gain enough perspective to successfully forge new paths and build a career you love.

Gearing up for adventure: National parks edition

yellowstone national park

Being a traveling therapist or traveling allied professional can come with some serious perks. At the top of the list is your freedom to travel and explore the U.S. Maybe there’s a state you always wanted to explore? Maybe you’ve always wanted to follow Lewis and Clark’s footsteps? Or, hike the Appalachian trail?

Take advantage of a traveling career and gain access to some of the most beautiful landscapes America has to offer. Here are four gorgeous national parks that our travelers have visited and loved:

Glacier National Park

Located in northern Montana, this protected land is known as the Crown of the Continent. Canada might think differently, but it’s hard to deny Glacier National Park’s natural beauty. Apart from breathtaking mountains and tranquil lakes and rivers, Glacier National Park features some of the best archaeology anywhere in the U.S.

While you may not find many dinosaur bones, Glacier National Park is full of early human artifacts, some of which include stone tools.

glacier national park

Grand Canyon National Park

Home of one of the natural wonders of the world, Grand Canyon National Park is found in Arizona. This park has numerous attractions, least of all are its multiple viewing areas, which allow you to stare out at the massive canyon space. Feel up for journeying down? You can rent a mule or take a hike.

The bottom of the Grand Canyon contains several refreshing natural springs that you can swim in. Just be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time as space is limited.

Yellowstone National Park

Located on top of a gargantuan super-volcano in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Yellowstone is a treasure of various environments and thrilling nature. This is America’s first national park and is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. You can camp, boat, ride horses and take guided tours across the vast wilderness preserve.

Of course, you’ll have to see the geysers. Every time one of them erupts, be thankful. This is how the magma underneath Yellowstone relieves some of its pressure. If you’re there in winter, be sure to check out the superb skiing opportunities.

yellowstone national park

Yosemite National Park

California ranks as one of the best places to be a registered nurse and part of the reason is Yosemite National Park. According to the official site, one of the chief draws of Yosemite is its waterfalls, which run numerous and beautiful down the sides of its many mountains. However, there’s more than meets the eye to the natural water here. If you’re in the mood for natural hot springs, Yosemite has several nearby that can relax your tired muscles. Other places to visit include the valley itself as well as the Mariposa Grove, which is full of giant Sequoia trees. Those looking for peace can visit the Hetch Hetchy, a stretch of undisturbed water that hides in between several of Yosemite’s mountains.

yosemite national park

Here’s the Free Stuff You Can Get, Right Now

therapist covid frontlines

As a #HealthcareHero, take advantage of giveaways, discounts and preferential treatment at businesses nationwide. Here’s your comprehensive list!

Free Fitness & Mental Health

Down Dog: To keep your physical and mental health strong, Down Dog is offering all of its apps – Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout – completely free for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals through July 1. Fill out the form on the link to take advantage of this offer.

Francie Perkins Coaching: With a background in healthcare and helping women through crisis, Francie Perkins Coaching is committed to helping healthcare providers get through their shifts in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Frontline nurses, radiology techs, and respiratory therapists can receive a free 30 minute life coaching session by emailing with a photo of your medical badge or ID.

Headspace: To take care of your mental health right now, Headspace is offering its meditation app to anyone working in a public health setting. All you have to do is visit their website and sign up.

Free Stuff & Places to Stay

Airbnb: If you are familiar with Airbnb, you know that it is typically an online method of booking a place to stay on vacation. Hosts of Airbnb housing are taking a hit economically during this time. However, Airbnb has turned their misfortune into a place for healthcare workers to “stay close to their patients and safely distanced from their own families.” When you book a frontline stay, Airbnb will waive all their fees up to the first 100K responders invited to book until May 31, 2020.

Barco: Barco is a healthcare apparel company that is offering to donate 10,000 scrubs each month for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic to professionals on the front lines. All you have to do is go to their website and request a donation (minimum of 50 sets required). Frontline healthcare workers can receive a free month of premium access to services to get help with caring for children, elderly parents, and pets. This includes unlimited messaging with caregivers.

FJOLK Shoes: Any healthcare worker on the COVID-19 frontlines can receive a free pair of shoes from FJOLK. Email for a pair of shoes from the FJOLK community.

Global Healing Vitamins: Frontline healthcare workers and first responders can receive a product of their choice, free of charge, from Global Healing Vitamins. Just fill out the form on their webpage.

Glowforge: 3-D printer company Glowforge is making and offering free Ear Savers to frontline workers including nurses, doctors, retail workers, delivery workers, sanitation workers, and others who must wear a mask. Ear Savers are designed to take pressure and friction off the ears while wearing face masks. Fill out a request on their webpage.

JINS Eyewear: Healthcare workers can receive a free pair of JINS Eyewear glasses by emailing to tell them about yourself or to nominate another. Offer good while supplies last. UPDATE: due to an overwhelming response, JINS will now choose 5 people per day for this freebie.

Preppi: Emergency preparedness company Preppi is donating N95 masks to healthcare workers in need. Fill out the donation request form on their page.

RexPay: RexPay has partnered with The Wellnus Company to donate sanitizing hand wipes to healthcare providers. They can also help procure other necessary PPE for providers in need. Fill out the form on their webpage to get started.

Wawa: Convenience chain Wawa, which has locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, and Washington D.C., is offering free coffee to healthcare workers and first responders for the length of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Wyndham Hotels: All essential workers who are Wyndham Rewards members (it’s free to sign up if you aren’t already a member) will be given a complimentary GOLD membership upgrade. GOLD perks include accelerated points earning on stays at Wyndham properties, preferred room choice, late checkout, and more.

therapist covid frontlines

Discounts for You

BlanQuil: BlanQuil, makers of weighted blankets, are offering a 50% discount to healthcare workers, first responders, and military service members. Complete the verification on their webpage to receive your discount.

Clove: Clove is a healthcare apparel company. They are offering free compression socks with every Clove purchase. Just add a pair of socks to a cart containing shoes and use code WITHLOVE for the discount to properly apply.

Dagne Dover: Healthcare workers, military, and teachers can receive a 20% discount at bag and purse retailer Dagne Dover. Fill out the form on their webpage to receive your discount code.

Danform Shoes: Danform Shoes is offering a 20% discount off footwear to healthcare professionals including nurses, doctors, and medical workers across the country. Offer applies to online sales only during store closure. Use code SUPERHERO20 at checkout.

Emma: Emma Mattress is offering an additional 10% off any order to healthcare workers. Just email and attach any proof of employment such as a work badge or ID.

ENELL: Apparel company ENELL is offering 50% off bras for healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers through May 30. Follow directions on the link to receive the discount.

Medelita: Medical workers can receive a 30% discount on Medelita scrubs by using code FRONTLINES at checkout.

Nike: For a limited time, Nike has increased its U.S. first responder and medical professional discount to 20% off. Verify your status on their webpage to receive your discount code.

The North Face: Apparel company The North Face will be offering a 50% discount off non-sale items to healthcare workers in the U.S. through December 31, 2020 (good online and at retail locations). They will also offer these individuals a 10% discount on non-clearance items at their U.S. outlet stores during the same period. Check the link to see which healthcare workers are eligible and to verify your status.

Purple: Mattress company Purple is offering a special 10% discount to healthcare workers – check the link to see who is eligible…many healthcare professions are included! Verify your eligibility through the link on their site to receive your discount.

Tech21: Tech21 is offering 60% off antimicrobial phone cases, tablet cases, and laptop cases to healthcare heroes. Email with your work ID to receive the discount code.

Theragun: Theragun is offering a special discount of up to $250 off a Theragun massage device to first responders, healthcare workers, and military members while supplies last. To receive the discount, email with the subject line “Frontline Discount” and include proper verification such as official ID or badge.

Vineyard Vines: Healthcare professionals can receive a 15% discount off everything at clothing company Vineyard Vines. Verify your status through the link.

Get Preferential Treatment

Costco: The bulk goods warehouse store Costco is temporarily offering priority access to members who are healthcare workers and first responders. Just present your Costco membership card and official identification of your role to move to the front of the line.

Publix: As of April 16 and until further notice, grocery store Publix has designated Thursday evenings, 8pm – 9pm, and Friday mornings, 7am – 8am, as special shopping hours for first responders and hospital staff. The Publix pharmacy will also be open during these hours.

Sam’s Club: Bulk goods clubhouse Sam’s Club has announced that starting on April 19, it will implement “Hero Hours” for healthcare workers and first responders, which will take place every Sunday from 8am-10am. No membership will be required for Hero Hours and Sam’s Club will provide masks to wear in-store. Please note that spouses and other family members or guests will not be allowed in the store for Hero Hours.

Summer’s coming.. have you thought about cave diving?

travel therapist scuba diving

Out of all of the excursions you can go on as a traveling therapist, cave diving is one of the most thrilling and exciting options. Described as an unbelievable adventure by Dive In, cave diving offers a unique glimpse at natural beauty that you’ll never forget:

“Exploring the underground world is an indescribable feeling; leaving a narrow part of a cave decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, which then opens up into a huge chamber will take your breath away.”

With as breathtaking and incredible as cave diving can be, it’s a challenging opportunity that can not be taken lightly in terms of safety. There are various steps you need to take to ensure your own well-being.

Before diving into an unforgettable adventure, consider the following safety tips:

1. Go through the training process prior to cave diving

You might be confident in your ability to dive, but don’t trust your instincts if you’ve never gone on this excursion before. We recommend you go through some training to understand the uniqueness of cave diving and any new equipment you’re working with before entering a cave system.

Always follow your light source while cave diving.

2. Always stay in the light

It’s very easy to lose visibility underwater while cave diving. To ensure you don’t get lost, Scuba Diving magazine recommended always staying in the light. You should also bring a few backup sources of light just in case your main source fails.

3. Stick to the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds for gas engagement is an important aspect of cave diving that will help you breath for a long period of time under water. This means you’re only using one third of your air on the way in, and another third of it on the way out. You should always leave a final third of air in the tank just in case you run into an issue while diving.

4. Find a focal point and stick to it

A deep-sea cave can seem like a maze, whether it’s man made or a naturally occurring landscape. Pay attention to the underwater landmarks and set focal points for yourself so you always have a place to return to if you think you’ve somehow made your way off of the route. Make sure there’s always a main focal point near your exit.

5. Avoid small spaces

Once you’ve reached your cave diving destination, be sure to stay out of confined areas and small spaces. Stick to the main route to avoid getting stuck because of predetermined cramped crevices, or becoming victim to confinement because of fallen rock.

6. Remain calm and enjoy yourself

Don’t forget why you went on the excursion in the first place. Use this awesome adventure as an opportunity to explore, relax and enjoy yourself. Stay calm while underwater, follow instructions and regulations and always remember to enjoy the surroundings of the deep blue while diving.

Empty nesters: Why you should become an RVing travel therapist

Becoming an empty nester can be bittersweet. The kids are gone (or grown), but now you have the opportunity to get out, explore, and pursue hobbies and career ventures you couldn’t in the past. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of taking your therapy talents across the country but felt too insecure about uprooting your family and starting over. Now, you can exercise your passion to care for others wherever you feel, and you don’t even have to worry about signing a lease or putting money toward a short-term hotel stay.

That’s because you and your partner or even best-friend can take the wide open road to your next travel therapy job and enjoy the journey in each other’s company. Here are a few reasons to consider investing in an RV for the rest of your career as a travel therapist:

Convenience & Community

Packing up and moving from place to place can be stressful for some traveling therapists. That’s why owning an RV is the perfect solution for therapists ready to hit the road. Not only do you have everything you need from town-to-town, but in every new location you’ve got an automatic community around you. Whether it’s Leo’s Campground in Key West or Big Pines RV Park in Central Oregon, you’ve got a community of folks ready to get to know you from the second you hook up your electric.

Adventure is Your Middle Name

Travel therapy already comes with a taste of adventure. You’re traveling across the country with a motivated mindset, inspired to discover what the rest of the U.S. has to offer. Taking an RV to your destination adds another layer of excitement; you can take tourist stops along the route, camp, or enjoy the simplicity of sightseeing as you drive. Most of our traveling therapists take their time getting to their next destination, just to have time to explore. Are you ready for a mini-vacation every 3 months?

travel therapist in rv

Quality Time with Your Favorite People

If your partner has the flexibility in their work schedule – or even better, is currently enjoying retirement – RVing allows you to spend some time together during your career as a traveling therapist. On the other hand, your kids, grand-kids or other close family members and friends can join you at your destination. You’ll be able to get-in that family time you’ve been missing while driving between assignments or by taking assignments near family. It can even be a mini-vacation if you plan ahead!

Lots of Job Opportunities

There might be a plethora of job opportunities available, but managing the travel can be difficult if you’re relying on transportation by airplane. Think about how easy it can be to pick up a new assignment when you’re traveling by RV – you don’t have to worry about making arrangements to and from the airport, booking the actual flights and putting money toward the travel. Instead, you already have your transportation and housing ready to go whenever you need.

If you’re ready to hit the road but you don’t have an assignment lined up, take a search through our jobs or talk to a recruiter to find your travel therapy opportunity. Adventure awaits!