If the idea of being a nomad health professional appeals to you, here’s some great news.
Healthcare is among the top ten industries taking advantage of a nomadic, digital workforce consisting of temporary contractors or freelancers. Projections are that by 2020, nearly half of all US workers will be participating in the gig economy.
A changing economy means more schedule flexibility, more financial autonomy, more freedom to work for the employers you choose, and more opportunities to pursue your passion. After all, who wants to sit in rush hour traffic for hours every day just to work 9-to-5 for a paycheck?
And because of the internet, working for yourself as a nomad health professional is more convenient than ever. Many healthcare freelancers are taking advantage of the freedom remote work provides, and are working from exotic and inspiring places.
You can join them! Here are some tips for living like a nomad health professional in the digital economy.
1. Define your specialty
Before you can earn an income as a nomad health professional, you need to gather the education, skills, and credentials that suit the digital nomad lifestyle.
There is healthcare related work you can perform remotely with just your laptop and an internet connection: medical writing, insurance billing, or online teaching and training can be lucrative options. After all, these specialties are in growing demand in the digital freelance economy. If you’d welcome the chance to work from home, these specialties represent a great opportunity.
But if you’re more passionate about clinical or chairside work, there are opportunities for travel once you’ve gained experience in your field and proven your worth. The travel industry (particularly cruise lines), the military, and corporate giants are all looking for healthcare professionals willing to travel or relocate – often overseas.
If you’re looking to switch from regular, traditional full-time work, make the change one step at a time by taking on a side gig here and there to see if the digital health nomad lifestyle suits you.
2. Promote yourself
Once you’ve decided to wholeheartedly pursue a digital nomad lifestyle, you’ll have to commit to self-promotion and marketing.
Social media is a great way to begin. Starting with a great profile on LinkedIn, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Quora to establish and build your credibility as an expert. Join professional networks and make connections with other freelancers.
Build your own personal website, and use your social media presence as a subtle way to advertise and drive visitors to it. On your own website, you can share rave reviews or evaluations you’ve received for your contract work, or share your portfolio, sell products and services, or promote a blog that features your role as a leader in your field.
The deeper your online presence, the easier it will be to find the next gig.
If you’re interested in working from home, use websites like Upwork and Freelancer to find home-based healthcare work to keep your schedule full.
If you’re more interested in working as a temporary contractor in your own or neighboring communities, or traveling as part of your profession, use an online platform like Stynt to market yourself and connect with healthcare employers directly.
3. Plan your travel
Once you’ve established yourself as a professional, you can start planning to travel, if that’s your goal.
As a digital nomad health professional, the only “have to” in your work is to maintain an internet connection no matter where you are in the world.
Obviously, if you’re going to live a nomadic lifestyle, major cities around the world offer the best opportunities because of the availability of high-speed internet and other digital infrastructure, as well as the chance to connect with hundreds or thousands of people just like you. Just do your homework about costs of living to make sure you can maintain your financial stability.
On the other hand, many developing countries are quickly embracing technology and connectivity. If you’d like to travel and work as a digital nomad in more remote locations, just make sure you can stay connected while you work.
4. Welcome and grow from the challenges
Freelancing or working independently offers its own set of challenges – which can be compounded when you add travel to your lifestyle goals.
If you’re committed to traveling as a nomad health professional, you could stay on the road for months – even years. That could mean long stretches of time away from family or friends, so it’s important to stay connected. Social media and web-based communication platforms like Facebook or Skype can help you overcome that challenge.
Another challenge of working for yourself as a nomad health worker might involve becoming ill or injured while you’re out of the country. Make sure that your health insurance coverage includes foreign travel or emergency evacuation in the event of an accident or illness.
It might also be challenging, if you travel as part of your digital nomad lifestyle, to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You may find yourself working longer hours or having to be more flexible with your schedule in order to take full advantage of your exotic location.
Just remember: if you’re working outside the country in more remote locations, network outages may be more common due to local infrastructure (or lack thereof). Consider it part of the “charm” of travel!
5. Additional tips
Becoming a nomad health professional will call on you to be strong, courageous, and persistent. Keep these tips in mind as you pursue your nomadic lifestyle:
- Focus on your specialty as a freelancer, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other options. Adapting your skills and being more flexible can help you generate an income during quieter months.
- Living a nomadic lifestyle requires a willingness to change plans on a moment’s notice. It’s okay to make a plan – just be aware that plans can change in ways beyond your control.
- Work first – play and explore later. Focus on getting your work done before heading out to enjoy your surroundings.
Becoming a nomad health professional can be one of the most challenging, rewarding, and inspiring lifestyles imaginable. But it’s never been more possible, and the rewards are immeasurable!
We’d love to help you explore your options. We’re Stynt, the largest and fastest-growing healthcare recruitment platform. We focus on connecting healthcare professionals like you with over 2000 health industry employers who are eager to work with you.