Travel School Psychologist Shares Diverse Experience
It’s safe to say that Rebecca W., MS, MEd, CAS, is not your average psychologist. In fact, she brings years of education, varied experience and hands-on clinical knowledge to her everyday role. She was also recently honored as AMN Healthcare’s Allied Traveler of the Month for February in the Schools division.
Rebecca is working as a certified school psychologist on assignment with AMN Healthcare, but has also worked as a counselor, teacher and therapy animal handler.
“I have a specialist degree in school psychology with a master’s in education and clinical psychology,” she said. “I secretly have an almost-finished master of science in reading acquisition and children’s literature.”
Now in her 20th year of practice, Rebecca decided that 2023 would be a year for change, and she began working as a travel school psychologist with AMN this past August. But her road to becoming an accomplished psychologist wasn’t always a straight path.
The Path to Travel School Psychologist
“When I was younger, I didn’t even know this was a career,” she said, adding that her childhood dreams included everything from being a school crossing guard to an advice columnist like Dear Abby. It ends up that the advice/counseling part would be closer to reality.
“After teaching, living overseas teaching, and teaching some more, I earned my clinical psychology degree. Then I was torn,” she said. “Clinical life is so interesting and rewarding, but schools felt like the place where more immediate differences could be made. Thankfully, being a psychologist in the schools is an option!”
Rebecca is currently on a telehealth assignment with a school district in the northwest corner of Indiana that crosses two time zones.
“It is rural with internet challenges, among others,” she explained. “I have worked rural before, and lived rurally before. I don’t like the snow though!”
Despite the constant dose of flurries, Rebecca finds there are countless things to love about her job as a healthcare professional with AMN Healthcare.
“This is hard to choose just one. I love the resources we have, and how helpful my support team is,” she said.
Working as a Tele-provider
The “tele” or virtual aspect of her role means she doesn’t currently work with students in person but rather via telehealth platforms.
“I am a tele-provider, so we don’t meet in person, but yes, several of us have exchanged cell numbers and at least we are able to have a good laugh when the serious talking is done,” Rebecca said.
Despite the learning curve, she was happy to have great support as she learned the psychological assessment platform that makes her remote work possible. She has also enjoyed the flexibility to connect with students as needed, and not just on assigned days for a particular campus like many school psychologists experience.
Although this is her first travel assignment with AMN Healthcare, Rebecca traveled extensively before the pandemic. Her current telehealth assignment is fitting in well with her lifestyle.
“Now I travel in my 1966 ‘tin can’ camper and explore state parks with my family. It’s a lot of planning and driving, but once we get to our location I can just feel my blood pressure drop!” she said. She is also enjoying the flexibility to support and her daughter who is working her way up through the Girl Scouts ranks, and the ability to drive her to a myriad of activities.Rebecca’s skills are incredibly varied and impressive. She can even put farmer on her resume as she used to own a farm.
“I still garden extensively, though the livestock is all in the past,” she recalled. “I love growing plants and flowers and am moving my yard toward natives to get it certified. I most love growing my own vegetables, especially when I grow enough to can my own.”
Working With AMN Healthcare
With her prior tele-practice experience, Rebecca took the advice of a fellow professional and decided to look into AMN Healthcare.
“A well-respected colleague suggested AMN, and I am so glad she did!”
Rebecca’s recruiter is Paige H., who she describes as friendly, kind and available. “If she can’t expressly help me, she does not hesitate to find someone who can. For a busy professional, she is a dream recruiter. I don’t have to ‘wander’ around trying to figure things out on my own. I know I can count on Paige.”
During the past few months, Rebecca has made many memories and had several rewarding experiences while on assignment in Indiana.
“One young client stands out,” she said. “In the past he had explosive externalizing behaviors (poor emotional regulation). Recently I spent time with him and he was laughing and being age-appropriate silly and smiling. I love seeing growth in my pediatric clients! I love knowing that my advocacy or my skills helped the team make this happen.”
Rebecca advises prospective travelers to practice first; shadow someone and get some strong hands-on experience prior to taking a telehealth or travel assignment.
“In my allied field, being a traveler is not a good idea with no other experiences. Being in-person hones your intuition and the nuanced knowledge that will benefit you.”
Getting Started as an Allied Healthcare Traveler
Inspired by Rebecca’s career? We are, too! If you are interested in learning more about taking your allied healthcare career on the road, let’s connect.
Simply fill out our online application or give our AMN Healthcare team a call at 866-871-8519 to get started.