Travel Therapy: How to Streamline the Credentialing Process

Travel Therapy How to Streamline the Credentialing Process, image of laptop/desk with this title

To say that things have changed a lot since we began our travel therapy journey in 2015 would be an understatement. Starting out as new grad travelers back then, there was limited information available on the internet to help us figure everything out. There weren’t the “social media influencers” of today. We had to learn a lot of things “the hard way,” such as choosing travel therapy companies and recruiters to trust, figuring out how to handle our job searches, applying for all of our state licenses, and managing all of our credentialing documents.

Fortunately for new travelers starting in the 2020’s, things have come a long way. Not only are there many experienced travel therapists such as ourselves out there to teach you what we’ve learned along the way, there are new and innovative technologies available to travelers to help make our lives easier!

One of the new technologies that we love is Kamana, which offers a secure digital wallet for travelers to keep up with all of their important credentialing documents, as well as allows travelers to safely send their entire profile to any recruiter at any company. Kamana’s goal is for us travelers to have one universal profile that will be accepted by all travel companies, instead of having to fill out separate ones when we work with different agencies! Best of all, their services are totally free for travelers. As financially savvy travel therapists ourselves, we love tools that don’t cost us anything and make life easier!

Understanding the Credentialing Process

If you’re new to the travel therapy world, you may not yet be aware of all the different credentialing documents you have to keep track of as a travel healthcare provider. If you’ve been in travel therapy for a while, you may already have developed the frustration of trying to keep track of everything.

As a traveler, here are some of the things you’ll need to maintain:

  • Resume
  • References
  • State licenses
  • CPR certification
  • Specialty certifications
  • Copy of driver’s license
  • Copy of Passport
  • Annual physical exam
  • PPD tests
  • Vaccine records
  • Drug screens

All of these need to be kept up to date, and you need to have them easily accessible in case you need to send them to your recruiter when searching for a new contract, or often to a different recruiter if you decide to search for jobs at another company on your next contract. The recruiters need these documents in order to keep your profile up to date and submit you to jobs. Often, hospitals and other facilities won’t accept your application if these documents aren’t up to date.

When we first got started as travelers, one of our recruiters recommended keeping a physical binder/folder with all of our documents that we could carry around with us from assignment to assignment. We actually still have this old school, 2015, over-stuffed and mangled file folder, and truly have carried it everywhere. But in reality, where you need those documents is not in physical form, it’s in digital form. So at some point or another, we’ve taken photos or scanned these documents, saved them to our computers, uploaded them to email, and sent them to everyone and their coworker.

Looking back now, this seems so archaic. Not only is it an absolute mess to keep track of everything in these various physical and digital folders, but it’s also not secure at all. We should not be emailing or texting these important, sensitive documents back and forth, knowing that these forms of communication are not very secure.

Luckily, we now know that there is a better way.

Streamlining the Credentialing Process with Kamana

Here is how you can utilize Kamana to make this process easier and more secure:

  • Create your free Kamana profile here
  • Fill out your profile with your demographics & information
  • Upload your credentialing documents to the secure digital wallet
  • Keep all your files here for easy access (you’ll know where to find them instead of hunting them down next time!)
  • Watch your email for updates on expiring credentials so you won’t forget to renew something important!
  • Choose to send your full profile to your favorite recruiter(s) with one click, so they can receive it via a secure link, not regular email
  • Choose to send your limited profile with only some of the information to recruiter(s) who are new to you and you’re not sure if you want them to have access to everything yet (also sent via a secure link)
  • Let your recruiters know you’d rather send information this way if at all possible to keep it secure, and let them know they don’t have to register or pay to use Kamana in order to receive the file

Moving the Travel Therapy Industry Forward

As experienced travel therapists, we are so excited to see companies innovating and pushing our industry forward. We are so glad that the founders of Kamana, one of whom was a travel nurse himself, are finding ways to use technology in order to make all the processes easier for travel healthcare providers. That way, we can focus on doing what we do best: providing great care to our patients and exploring the country along the way, without having to get bogged down by all the logistics! We can’t wait to see what else is to come in the future with healthcare staffing technology!

Fellow travelers: have you started using Kamana yet to manage your credentials? Let us know in the comments! If you have any additional questions about Kamana, feel free to message us, or visit their website at kamanahealth.com to learn more!

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This post was sponsored by Kamana Health. All information is original and reflects authentic viewpoints from Travel Therapy Mentor.

Travel Therapy: Working as an “Internal Traveler”

Photo of Lesley and her friend hiking with title "Travel Therapy: Working as an Internal Traveler" Guest post by Lesley Sheeley TravelTherapyMentor.com

When considering US based travel therapy careers, there are a few different options for how therapists can become employed. Most travel therapists and other traveling healthcare providers work through staffing agencies who help them to find travel jobs anywhere in the country, with any type of facility (this is what we do personally and is by far the most common route). Some travelers choose to arrange their own contracts directly with facilities, which is called being an independent contractor (you can learn more about independent contracting here). A third option would be to work directly with a particular therapy company or hospital system as an “internal traveler” who only goes between the facilities that company has. For example, you could work at any location that a certain hospital system has, an outpatient physical therapy company, or a chain of skilled nursing facilities. Below we are featuring Lesley Sheeley’s story, a physical therapist who is currently working as an internal traveler, to help you learn more about this type of employment!


Background

Hi! I’m Lesley. I am a military brat and was born in Colorado Springs, but I primarily grew up in Warner Robins, GA. I went to the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2017 and continued on to graduate with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UNG in 2020. 

I love to travel (duh), I also enjoy all things outdoors and CrossFit. It is not super uncommon to find me at a winery every now and then either 😉

After graduating as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2020, I took a position with Upstream Rehabilitation as an internal national traveler.

Upstream Rehabilitation is an outpatient orthopedic company with over 850 clinics across the United States. Some of the common clinic names you might recognize under the Upstream Rehabilitation “umbrella” are Benchmark, Drayer, and Serc Physical therapy.

My Why

I decided to take an internal traveler position as a new grad physical therapist due to it providing more stability and support than “traditional” travel positions through staffing companies.

With Upstream, I am able to remain in outpatient orthopedics, go through a 1-year mentorship program, have set documentation system, set salary, set benefits, and the opportunity to go permanent with the same company following my time as a traveler with them.

Perks to My Job

With Upstream, I make an average salary for a new grad in the Outpatient Orthopedic setting. I qualify for benefits such as loan repayment, 401k with matching, health/dental/vision insurance, and continuing education money.

Due to getting a full salary, the stipend is more of a set stipend rather than based off the area’s cost of living. So my income month to month remains the same no matter where I am working. The stipend is untaxed and follows the regulations of any other traveler stipend to help cover housing, meals and incidentals when I’m at my travel location.

Cons of Internal Travel

As an internal traveler, some cons compared with working as a traditional traveler would be:

  • I do not have as many options of locations
  • Cost of living does not always determine the amount of pay
  • I do not get to experience other settings

Logistics


Relocation: The company reimburses me for mileage to travel from one location to the next. I have been responsible for moving myself from A to B just like a traditional traveler. I pack everything in my car that I need to bring! The time moving between jobs has varied from a weekend to a week depending on the distance. If I had to take a longer time between assignments, I used my PTO through the company to cover that time and my annual salary remained unchanged.

Licensing: I do have to get licensed in each state just like a traditional travel therapist. The company pays for my licensing costs, and I take care of the licensing application process myself.

Housing: So far, I have found housing on my own for each location through people at the clinic I am going to, Furnished Finder, or Airbnb. I believe the company would help me if absolutely necessary, but I have gotten lucky with each one so far and have not needed their assistance!

Assignment Length: The time spent at each location varies based on the clinic needs. They aren’t the typical 13 weeks like for traditional travelers. My jobs have varied from 10 to 18 weeks so far.

My Experiences

So far I have lived and worked in:

  • 2 different clinics in Georgia
  • 1 clinic in Olympia, WA
  • Currently going between 2 clinics in Eugene, OR 
  • And I will be heading to Kansas City, MO next!

The locations are more limited and are determined by need. When originally hired, I gave a list of the states I was willing to go. Based off that list and the need in those states, they then offer me a position. If they offer a position I do not want, I am allowed to decline. There are not as many options, but still plenty to choose from in my opinion!

Switching clinic to clinic has been a wonderful learning opportunity as a new grad. I love to see the different ways clinics are operated, do scheduling, and treat patients. As someone who looks at going into leadership in the future, the experience is great!

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be an internal traveler! It has been a wonderful experience.


Thank you to Lesley for sharing her insights about being an internal traveler! If you have specific questions about internal travel therapy, please contact Lesley below. If you have questions about being a travel therapist in general, please contact us!

I am happy to answer any and all questions you may have! Feel free to email me at lesleysheeley@hotmail.com or message me on Facebook at Lesley Ashton Sheeley.