How to Fit Travel Into Your Medical Career

A soon-to-be physician or a current physician can work in many environments with their medical license. Travel, more often than not, is a major part of being a doctor because doctors consult with each other to not only to diagnose, but also to plan treatment. Some doctors get called for scheduled conferences and other may get called for urgent business. In the whole process of traveling, however, it helps to be prepared; medical professionals lead exceptionally busy lives, and fitting travel in can be a challenge.


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    Think about where you want to take your career. The first step is to think about what exactly you want to do with your medical certification. You should consider whether you would want the traveling lifestyle or not, and if you would need to decide if you'd be comfortable moving around a lot. Traveling for medical purposes allows you to have a more direct impact on a person's life. If traveling is something you are interested in doing, the next step is to branch out and find opportunities that would allow you to do so.
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    Look up work-related opportunities to travel. You should do some research on different reasons to travel in your specialization like research on the Internet or talking to your superiors. When looking for opportunities, consider how far and how frequent you would need to travel. Missionary trips like Doctors without Borders are popular for physicians. The physicians go to developing areas of the world to treat patients that don't have much or any access to health care.If you sign up to be a part of a frequent medical-travelling agency, begin accepting assignments to travel and begin giving medical care to other people. These assignments are often four-to-six month contracts. Domestic placements can be as short as a weekend and international placements can be up to two years long, so make sure to plan accordingly and look at the requirements for the organization you decide to work through. Once you find a group that does missionary trips, you sign up for it and start planning!
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    Have the right credentials and certification. If you are a physician going on a medically related trip, make sure you have an appropriate work visa if you are planning on traveling outside of your country. There is a booklet to refer to, as indicated in the picture.
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    Familiarize yourself with the diseases prevalent in the country of travel. Be aware of all of the risks, health-associated, that could occur. Certain Urgent Care centers administer respective vaccinations to the place of travel. It is important to give yourself this time because vaccines require time to take effect within the body. Especially if you are flying out of country, this is even more important.
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    Make sure your physical examination records are up to date. If you are heading outside of the country, check to see if you are up-to-date with your vaccinations. Initial consultation at a travel medicine clinic should occur at least four to six weeks before you departure to give yourself time to get your immunizations and, if need be, any assessments in case an adverse reaction occurs.
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    Familiarize yourself with the culture of your place of travel. The physician or future physician should know the local patient’s language to understand them effectively and be able to provide the needed care. He or she should also be aware of the local religious believes, which sometimes affect the patient treatments. Looking for the "WORLDBOOK" encyclopedias in your library is a good place to start.
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    Take an absence for the time you will be gone. Once you know your date of travel, it is important to notify your boss and your colleagues that you will be out of town on a medical trip. This is necessary to ensure that people who might be trying to get a hold of you while you are gone know that it is highly unlikely for them to receive a prompt response to whatever it is that they needed for you, whether it be a consult or help on a case. It is considered appropriate to let your workplace know a month prior to the day you leave. Block the days you will be absent in your calendar so no future appointment are made for those dates that you will be gone.
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    Plan an itinerary. When it is time to travel for your missionary or your volunteer medical trip, it is important to buy a plane ticket or other mode of transportation as soon as possible. Look to see if you know others within the trip who are going with you and book a flight together.
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    Think about leaving a couple earlier than the required date. Sometimes it may be good to get to the location a couple of days before in order to get accustomed to the new environment, the new people, and local grocery stores that you will need to buy food from. Make sure that, along with booking transportation, you do not forget to book a place to stay as well. If going overseas, you should probably set up a means for people to contact you in an emergency.
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    Inform your current patients. For the patients, explain to them that you will be going out for medical relief trip for however long you are going for. Make sure that your patient is offered a chance to re-schedule their appointment with you for a later time or, if the appointment was to occur on a timely manner, refer him or her to another colleague with the similar certification and specialization as you for this one appointment.
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    Find someone you trust to look after your home. If you will be gone for a significant period of time, you should probably find someone to take care of your house if you have houseplants and/or pets. Having some body look after your house is also good for security purposes in case anything goes wrong while you are away. Also, coming back to a clean house gives you a good feeling after being away from it after a while.
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    Pack. For a domestic flight: As the day of your flight approaches, you should pack your bags in advance to assure that you do not forget any of the essentials like your toothpaste, toothbrush, hair comb, etc. Keep in mind restrictions on carrying things on flights like toothpaste tube sizes, gel bottle sizes etc. Planning packing methods helps to save money on luggage fees. Make sure that you have a ride to the airport so you can save on parking fees.
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    Do not forget the essentials on International travels. If traveling abroad, make a checklist of important documentations and other things.
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    Get going! Double-check to make sure you have not left any loose ends before you leave on your medical trip. Print your boarding pass ahead of time. Check-in over the computer within 24 hours of your flight! Now you are ready to go! Safe travels!


  • In case you miss any of the steps, or due to some reason you end up skipping a step, do not worry. Just relax and make sure you do the skipped step as soon as possible!

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