While a rewarding career path, working in healthcare can also be incredibly challenging. It takes passion, dedication, hard work, and it helps to have a thick skin. Add the element of travel into your job title and it can be even more pressing, since you'll be moving from one assignment to the next; meeting and working with all different types of personalities. Some patients and coworkers will be encouraging, kind and caring, but others will be judgmental and harder to work with. Whether you're new to the world of travel therapy or allied travel, or you've been practicing all over the country for years, growing a thick skin will keep your spirits up and help you reach career milestones. Here are a few tips for taking harsh criticism working in travel healthcare:
It's always easier to say "don't take it personally," than it is to not actually take that comment personally. Instead of dwelling on harsh comments that are directed towards you, look at it as criticism towards the actual situation. Maybe a coworker didn't like the way you handled a patient's complaint, or maybe a patient made a comment about liking something better when another therapist or tech did it. Take these comments with a grain of salt, your coworker or patient are mostly likely frustrated with the situation instead of being frustrated with you. Instead of perceiving these comments as personal criticism, take a step back and look at the situation from another perspective. Is your coworker really frustrated with you, or with the training you were provided by the facility? Does the patient like something better when another therapist or imaging tech did it, or do they have a preference to how that task is done since so much is out of their control right now?
Maybe you're overthinking the situation, we've all been guilty of this before. Perhaps you're not sure how to handle harsh feedback. Reach out to someone you trust, like a family member or a traveler friend from you last assignment, for insight into how they would've handled the situation. When you're receiving critiques, it's natural to feel anxious and even defensive. But no matter how the critiques are delivered (with kindness or filled with frustration), "...criticism can actually become a valuable tool for self-growth." says Melissa Dinwiddie for Tiny Buddha. While it's not always easy to look for a lesson at the end of a confrontation, with practice negative comments can become fuel to make your work even better.
There's no denying that you'll run into people with poor attitudes during your ventures as a travel therapist or allied professional, but don't let it keep you from pursuing the career of your dreams. Think about all of the kind individuals you get to meet and places you get to explore as a traveler. This reminder can help you grow that thick skin and continue to pursue travel healthcare.