Medical Technologist Traveler Goes from Retirement to Exploration
Medical technologist Mary Schnorbus finished med tech school at age 40, embarking on a career path that satisfies her love of science and desire to help people. Her first med tech job was a bench tech position at an Indianapolis hospital, where she did her clinical training. In 2016, after 22 years of service, she retired from the hospital as a clinical supervisor.
But she wasn't done. Mary, along with her husband, Paul, decided to explore the country by working med tech traveler assignments for AMN Healthcare.
"We never had any travelers at the hospital I worked at," she said. "I heard about traveling through one of my co-workers who went with AMN Healthcare about six months before I retired. I was in contact with her, and I also researched traveling on the Internet."
Mary ended up contacting Annetra Walker-Shook, a senior recruiting consultant with AMN Healthcare.
"She's the best," Mary said about Annetra. "It seems like she really cares. When I get to the end of an assignment, she contacts me and wants to know where I want to go next. Do I want anything in particular? Do I need any time off? And then, as soon as I start my position, she's emailing me to see how everything is going. And she's just on it all the time."
Finding adventures on the road
After five years of traveling, Mary and Paul have explored eight locations and are enjoying their new adventurous life together.
"My husband and I have always enjoyed traveling, so continuing to explore different places after retirement appealed to us," Mary said.
When the couple travels from one work location to the next, they always drive, which allows them to plan road trips and visit sights along the way.
Mary's first med tech travel assignment was in a Battle Creek, Michigan hospital, not far from her Indiana hometown. From there, she went to a sister hospital in Kalamazoo.
Her next stop was Baltimore, and as history buffs, Mary and Paul were fascinated by the area. But Missoula, Montana, might be Mary’s favorite location so far; she was there over the summer and able to hike the state's beautiful trails.
Gaining new skills with each assignment
Along with seeing new sights, Mary quickly learned that allied travel assignments were helping to boost her skillset.
"When I was full-time at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, I was on the chemistry side of the core lab," she said. "That was my forte. But since I've been traveling, I've become much more comfortable in hematology. I've also learned about many new analyzers and feel comfortable using them. And traveling has also given me confidence that, even at 67, I can learn new stuff."
When COVID-19 hit the country, Mary was in Tavares, Florida, working at Adventist Health’s core lab doing chemistry, hematology and urinalysis. From there, she went to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and started doing rapid COVID testing for antibodies and antigens. Then, she headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she performed PCR analysis.
Advice for new med tech travelers
Medical technologists, or med techs, generally need one year of work experience before they can work travel assignments. Mary suggests preparing yourself for traveling by working as many parts of the lab as possible to get a wide variety of experiences.
"Once you're ready to travel, be open to any experience and just be adventurous," Mary said.
When I was a full-time supervisor, I found it challenging to do my job and leave it at the hospital when I went home. But in traveling, I feel like I can come in, do my job and leave my job there. The truth is, I can do anything for 13 weeks."
Mary said she meets many med techs who ask her about traveling, and she tells them about her adventures and how to get started.
"A lot of the people who are most interested are those getting close to retirement and want to try something different," she said. "So, I'm happy to share my experiences."
READY to start making lifelong memories as Mary has? Just apply with AMN Healthcare, and our recruitment team will help get you on your way.