You know the look – when you meet new patients and they look at you with a mixture of excitement, hope and a little anxiety. Perhaps they’ve had an extensive surgery and it hurts to move. Maybe they’re ready to work, but nervous about what’s required of them. Part of your job is to motive them through the anxiety and strain to get them back on their feet again or to help them accomplish a speech therapy goal. In order to do that, you’re constantly finding the right balance of empathy, determination and tough love.
It is here, in your personality and in this pressure you’ve invited into your professional life that we find commonality between traveling therapists and the shark of our oceans. And, just like shark, we need you. You’re as integral to the healthcare industry as shark are to the ocean’s ecosystem.
Read on to learn what you’ve got in common with these amazing creatures of the deep:
1. You move to survive
According to the Discovery Channel, many species of sharks breathe through a method known as ram ventilation. This means that they swim fast, thus pushing water past their gills and absorbing oxygen. As a travel therapist, you’re constantly in motion, transitioning from one care facility to another. That’s one of the most appealing parts of the job – the change, the newness, the adventure. Like a shark, you need to move to survive. It’s in your DNA. Not only so you can fully engage with your profession and expand your professional horizons, but to accomplish those personal goals that only traveling will allow you to do. But, when you need to ground yourself occasionally, don’t forget about those six- or 10-month contracts. That’s where you can settle in for a little while, do some good work, and maybe even gain experience before moving on to the next location.
2. You’ve developed a thick skin
Sharks are known for having extremely thick skin. The whale shark, for instance, has skin up to 4 inches thick, according to the Georgia Aquarium. As a travel therapist, you’ve developed a thick skin of your own. When patients are experiencing pain or discomfort, they on occassion get emotional or even aggressive. As you’ve had to do over and over again, you simply absorb their behavior and keep working. Of course, it helps to be able to empathize with the patients and see the situation from their perspectives. You know the difficutly of being in their position. So, finding creative ways to motivate stubborn patients makes your job so much easier. Then, after your shift is over, don’t overlook how important it is to recharge. After all, how else will you maintain that thick skin?
3. You fear (almost) nothing
Traveling is often an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience, especially if you’re going somewhere completely unfamiliar to you. And repeatedly entering into situations where you have few personal support systems is certainly a challenge. But like many of the the great white sharks, just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you have to be a loner – part of the fun of traveling is meeting new people and exchanging stories, experiences and information. Sure, you’re occasionally outside your comfort zone, but it’s this forced pressure that continues to make you stronger and allows you to see the world with fresh new eyes, everyday. After all, you’re a traveling therapist. You’re not intimidated by anything, right?