Pediatric Cardiac Sonographer Traveling the World
When Alyce H., BS, RDCS (AE, PE) received her bachelor's degree in biology in 2016, she wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do. She decided to complete a cardiac ultrasound program and use it as a stepping stone to make money until she figured out a master plan.
Little did she know that she would end up performing pediatric cardiovascular imaging in hospitals across the United States, with allied health travel jobs that allow her the flexibility to also travel internationally.
Becoming an allied traveler
"About a year after working a full-time job, I knew I needed more experience, and I wasn't going to get it at my permanent job," said Alyce. "So, I started traveling and wasn't sure I would like it. But, after almost six years of traveling, I am in love with the money and the knowledge I'm gaining from my assignments."
Alyce first became interested in allied health travel assignments during school. She said she was intrigued by being able to make more money than most permanent jobs, work at major institutions across the country, explore the United States, take extended time off, and gain experience as a registered pediatric cardiac sonographer.
When Alyce felt it was time to get started, she went on a traveling sonographer Facebook group and asked for recommendations about getting a job. A travel sonographer with AMN Healthcare contacted Alyce about her experience. They have been friends ever since.
Alyce reached out to AMN Healthcare and met Amanda S., who has been her recruiter since day one.
"Amanda is amazing, and I was one of her first travelers," said Alyce.
"My job gives me clarity on what's important in life"
"Amanda always touches base to see how I'm doing. If I don't respond, she'll keep calling to ensure that I'm fine, and I really appreciate that. I have never met Amanda in person, but she is like a long-distance friend. And I was not expecting that from a recruiter. I thought it was just going to be strictly business. But she makes me feel very confident, and I trust her not to steer me in the wrong direction."
Like most successful recruiter–traveler relationships, the feeling is mutual.
"Alyce is the definition of a wonderful traveler," said Amanda when she recently nominated Alyce for AMN Healthcare’s Traveler of the Month award. "In between traveling to assignments, she travels abroad on her own time. Her first assignment was with me, and she was my first traveler. I consider Alyce a good friend and an amazing asset to AMN Healthcare. She is a rock star at was she does and makes an impact everywhere she travels."
Enjoying domestic and international travel
Born and raised in Alabama, Alyce hadn't traveled much outside her home state until working for AMN Healthcare. Her first assignment was 2,600 miles away at Seattle Children's Hospital. Although Seattle wasn't on her travel bucket list, the compensation offered was too good to pass up. That first assignment was enough to get her hooked on the traveler lifestyle.
Two of her favorite assignments as an allied traveler have been with Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Duke Children's is one of my favorites because of the work environment," Alyce said. "It felt like a family environment. It's a place where you feel that sonographers and the office staff all have your back, and I had theirs. We were a close team.”
“I loved Stanford for its location, and coming here was one of my main travel goals,” she continued. “I've been here for 12 months and enjoy being 30 minutes from the beach and watching the sunset. An hour one way is Napa wine country. You can hike and visit San Francisco and San Jose, and I like having so many scenery options within an hour's drive."
"Traveling gives you confidence that you can do whatever you want"
Alyce said that allied health travel has given her tremendous personal and professional experience and boosted her confidence—both on the job and in other areas of her life.
"Every facility I go to, I am continuously learning, regardless of the size of the hospital," she said. "Pediatrics has a consistent learning curve, and I will never be done learning. But every hospital I go to shows me procedures and techniques that I didn't see at the last."
Another perk of allied travel assignments for Alyce is being able to take time off and afford to travel abroad frequently.
"I've been to more countries than states," she said.
Alyce's favorite countries she's visited so far are Switzerland, Japan and Italy. Looking forward, she would like to visit Tanzania, South Africa, India and Cambodia, among other countries. In order to complete her lengthy wish list of international destinations, she expects that she will be traveling for a very long time.
Allied Traveler of the Month: Winning attributes
In recognition of her dedication, rave reviews and excellent interpersonal skills, Alyce was named AMN Healthcare's Traveler of the Month for September.
She said being personable, respecting her patients and coworkers, and getting the job done are her secrets to success. She also acknowledges that her career can be challenging and humbles her every day.
"I'll have days where I feel like my world is upside down," she said. "Maybe I'm having a bad hair day, or I got a flat tire on the way to work. But then I go into the hospital, and a two-year-old is getting an echo for chemo for a new tumor they just found. That's humbling and shows me that being upset about a flat tire wastes energy ... My job gives me clarity on what's important in life."
As difficult as her job can be, Alyce loves working with kids and encourages others to find their passion and start traveling.
"Traveling gives you confidence that you can do whatever you want," she said. "People are comfortable with what they know, be it family, an apartment, or whatever, and don't want to get out of that space. Traveling for work gives you that reality check and the chance to say, 'I can do this.' There's a big world out there besides family and material things.”
“I encourage everyone to travel just to figure out who they are, what they like, and to get out of their comfort zone."