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For almost three years, 2008 Chrisman Graduate Joanna Wyatt has been a traveling Radiology Tech.
“I always had an interest in the medical field, but had a hard time narrowing down what area I wanted to start a career in. During my senior year, I enrolled in the Health Occupations class at Paris Hospital,” Joanna told us. “That class was a wonderful experience and really opened my eyes to several different career avenues, but my favorite part was radiology. I thought X-ray was used only to evaluate broken bones, but I quickly learned there is so much more to radiology.”
After graduating Chrisman, Wyatt attended Parkland College and graduated in 2012, earning her Associates Degree in Radiologic Technology. Her clinical rotations were done at Carle Foundation Hospital, which is a Level II trauma center. It was there that Joanna realized that she enjoyed the fast pace and organized chaos of working in an ER.
While working at Carle, Joanna worked with a few traveling X-ray Techs, who told her about the perks of being a traveler.
“I love traveling mainly because of the freedom. I can pick the location that I want, I usually get to set my schedule and I have a lot of free time to explore the area,” Wyatt said. “I’ve met a lot of great people along the way and have seen some beautiful parts of the country that I otherwise would’ve never experienced.”
Another part of her job that Joanna enjoys is that every assignment is a learning experience because no hospital does everything the same way. The downside of traveling is being away from her family.
“I am fortunate to travel with my boyfriend and our three animals,” Wyatt said. “We have experienced so much in that amount of time and I can honestly say that I love my job.”
The company that Joanna works for has a team of recruiters who makes a list of the openings at all of the contracted hospitals and they send that list to the travelers who then select which jobs they are interested in.
“Most assignments are thirteen weeks long, but some are shorter if it’s covering someone’s maternity leave or FMLA,” Wyatt said. “Travelers also get the chance to extend their contracts if the hospital offers it and then that job comes with a six month contract.”
In her travels, Joanna has spent most of her career in Reno, Nevada, but she’s also been to West Virginia, Montana and Louisiana.
“We have enjoyed Reno the most because we like to be active and there are so many outdoor sports and activities out here, we are never bored,” Wyatt said. “We like to hike, bike and spend time around Lake Tahoe, which I fell in love with the first time I saw it. It’s just gorgeous.”
Joanna plans to travel until she finds the place where she wants to live permanently. “I’ve learned through traveling the country that the options are endless and I might be traveling a long time before I find that place,” she said. “I’m just truly enjoying the journey right now and can’t wait to see where it takes me next.”