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Shannon is a Physical Therapist that has been traveling with Delta Healthcare Providers for three years. She truly epitomizes all that a travel therapist is to DHP. Her most admirable quality is that she immerses herself in the culture of any community she is in. And we can’t forget to mention that she often travels on the weekends and has amazing photographs to prove it. See them below!

Where is your Favorite Place you have traveled to while on assignment? 

I Love it when people ask me this question especially because I have had quite a variety of experiences from Small Rural towns in Kansas to bustling college towns in California to the East Coast/Carolinas. My Answer to this is always the same. Plain and Simple each of these places has become my home for the time I was there and the people have become my family. There are times when I get home sick for each place, and there are certain things or people that I miss all the time. It’s like picking a favorite child, you just can’t do it. Each place has brought me to a new level and has helped me to grow both as a person and as a Therapist. 

We Heard that the Flexibility of Travel has allowed you to grow in your passion for makeup artistry! Can you tell us more about that? 

Over the last year I have lived in some smaller towns, and I have found ways to occupy my time. I started getting really in to YouTube (I know I am like 2 years behind the bandwagon on this) I have discovered many makeup artists and tutorials that I now watch regularly. I was never one to use makeup growing up and was actually more of a Tom boy. Over the past year or so I have gotten really into makeup, I think for me its a way to express myself and my (very little) creativity. Especially when you have to wear a uniform to work and you can’t express your personality through clothing I think it’s really cool to be able to express yourself through makeup. I have recently even tried to start filming myself and uploading some very bad tutorials to Youtube but I am still new to the filming and editing process, so I promise my videos can only get better from here!

What is your relationship like with your Recruiter? 

My Recruiter Natalie is everything a great Recruiter should be. Over the course of my 3 years as a traveler I have spoken with at least 15 different recruiters and not one of them even comes close to Natalie. From Day one I felt a bond with her and I know that she is the reason my travelling career has been so long. When I first started traveling I only intended to do it for about a year, here I am 3 years later still going strong and LOVING my job. She is ALWAYS available when I need her no matter whether its on a weekend or after normal business hours, and she just “gets” me. She knows exactly what I am looking for in a travel assignment and what types of settings I prefer, she just keeps her eyes open for anything that I might like and we go from there. Sometimes I will have an inkling of what state(s) I want to go to and she is always there pulling it out and finding me a great job. A lot of other recruiters with different companies don’t actually listen to you, it feels like they are trying to bully you into jobs that you don’t want for the sake of making money and if you have issues they are MIA, I never wanted to be in that position. I think that having a good recruiter is what makes or breaks a travel career and I am so thankful that I found Natalie and Delta right from the get go.

What would you recommend to a new graduate that is Interested in travel therapy?

I know a lot of New grads are anxious about traveling, there is so much miss-information out there about travel therapy and I think a lot of people who spread those rumors are therapists who have never done travel. My advice is to find people or facebook groups with travelers and pick their brains about their experiences. Also Find a recruiter that is on your side and has your best interests at heart. My first assignment I was very clear that I was looking for good mentorship and I was very fortunate that my recruiter found me a great assignment where I has 2 amazing therapists to mentor me for 10 months before I moved on to my next assignment. Also be open to going ANYWHERE. If I hadn’t been open to going to a very small town then I might not have had such mentorship and a safe environment to get comfortable and expand my skills. I would also advise them to be open to working combination assignments. I have worked in pretty much every setting except for SNF. I feel like combo settings give you a chance to expand your skills. Also be open to learning from every therapist or PTA that you work with during your time as a traveler. You have such an advantage to be able to learn from people all over the country who have years more experience than you do. 

What would you say to travelers that are location-specific or hesitant to going to a small city?

My very first assignment was in a super small town. I am from New York so this was extremely scary for me especially as a new grad. I ended up extending my contract there for about 10 months. This is one of my most cherished assignments. I would have never in my life requested to go to Kansas but the lifelong friends and memories that I made there are some of my fondest times as a traveler. I have done many assignments in areas that are maybe considered less than Ideal to other travelers but I think this is one of the things I am most proud of myself for, I have kept a very open mind when it comes to location. When I first started working with my recruiter I told her that I was very much doing travel therapy for the experiences and she has not let me down. Every area I have been to has been rewarding. I have also made the most of each assignment by finding the best things each area has to offer by taking weekend trips. Some of my weekend trips include: Washington DC, Nashville, Outer Banks, Charleston, Branson MO, Memphis, Myrtle Beach, VA Beach, Sacramento, San Francisco, Fort Bragg, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey just to name a few. I have also found ways to build awesome sight-seeing adventures into my road trips to different assignments. April of 2016 I did a West coast road trip from Seattle down to LA and then over to Arkansas and recently I did a cross country road trip from NY to California stopping to play in Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Teton National Park. My biggest piece of advice to other travelers or someone interested in traveling is to be open minded and open to any location. 

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Interested in experiencing similar adventures as Shannon being a travel therapist? Reach out to Shannon’s recruiter, Natalie Notko, for information regarding current openings!

Natalie Notko