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Festive Shopping

Festive Shopping by Richard Collinson, on Flickr

Don’t hit the panic button just yet. There are still a few weeks to find presents for your loved ones. Thanks to online shopping, the process for healthcare travelers is so much easier than going to various stores, wrapping the items, sending them out to family and friends, and hoping they arrive in time for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

However, anytime you buy something online, whether away on assignment or from the comfort of home, there are a few precautions to follow to protect your identity and hard-earned traveler’s salary. Here are a few tips from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (www.privacyrights.org).

1. Security Clearance: Before browsing through a site’s inventory, take a look at its Internet address. It should have “https://” at the beginning, a closed padlock, or an unbroken key, all of which signals a secured system. Sometimes, though, these indicators do not pop up until you on are the ordering page.

2. The Fine Print: How many times have you robotically clicked “agree” when prompted to read terms and conditions? No matter how laborious, it’s a good idea to read the privacy policy portion because it’s where you find out if the business shares your data with other organizations—not a good idea.

Also, see if the data, especially your credit card numbers, are stored as encrypted files. This means they are always scrambled and only authorized personnel can descramble them.

3. Contact Credentials: Look for the business’s physical mailing address and phone number, and give it a call to confirm everything’s legit.

4. Point of No Return? Check out how the retailer handles returns. Who pays for the shipping to send back the product? Do you get a refund on your credit card or only store credit?

5. Charge It: Never, ever—repeat: never, ever—give out checking account or debit card numbers. Also, never use a money transfer system like Western Union. These could give hackers direct access to your accounts, and most banks do not guarantee refunding unauthorized purchases. Credit card companies offer better protection.

Have you heard about single-use credit cards? Apparently they are virtual and generate a random account number in place of your actual number. One drawback is that they are store specific. Once you use it to buy from a website, that virtual card is forever linked to that merchant and cannot be used elsewhere. Inquire with your credit card company to see if it offers this service.

6. Hard Copies: Either save or print all receipts or email confirmations just in case.

Happy (Safe) Holiday Shopping!

 

Anne Baye Ericksen is a professional writer who has contributed to Healthcare Traveler since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif.

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The arrival of September signals fall harvest is ready for the dinner table. But don’t expect to find the same cornucopia of goodies at every farmer’s market. Those travelers on assignment in the Northwest will find something different from travelers in the Northeast, and so on.

To find out the season’s top crops for your current contract, check out this quick guide.

NORTHEAST
Pumpkins — Okay, so this is an obvious choice, but did you know this squash is loaded with vitamin A? Cut it up, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it in the oven for a flavorful potato substitute.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins by RichardBowen via Flickr

Radicchio — There’s more to this bitter lettuce than just salad fixings. Cut it in half lengthwise and pop it on an indoor grill for a smoky side dish.

On the Chopping Block: Radicchio

On the Chopping Block: Radicchio by madlyinlovewithlife via Flickr

MID-ATLANTIC
Leeks — Don’t like the taste of onions? Try the more subtle leeks. They’re great in soups and stews.

Leek Stalks

Leek Stalks by LollyKnit via Flickr

Brussels Sprouts — Low in calories and high in fiber, these mini cabbages are good to the core. Roast them in a hot oven to caramelize the natural sugars.

Brussels sprouts before roasting

Brussels sprouts before roasting by johnsu01, via Flickr

SOUTHEAST
Eggplant — Research shows that eggplant contains chlorogenic acid, which helps lower LDL cholesterol. Even better, this veg is super versatile. Serve it on its own or stirred into pasta sauces.

Eggplant

Eggplant by NellieMcS, via Flickr

Okra — If you’ve eaten gumbo, you’ve had okra. It’s a natural thickener, but just as tasty breaded and deep-fried.

Okra

Okra by NatalieMaynor, via Flickr

MIDWEST
Beets — I was one of the those kids who had to force down beets at dinner, but I have come to enjoy them now, especially in salads with a little goat cheese. And don’t ignore the leafy tops; they’re chocked full of vitamins and minerals.

Beets: Chioggia, White, Gold, Red

Beets: Chioggia, White, Gold, Red by Suzies Farm, via Flickr

Parsnips — One cup of this carrot cousin will provide you with 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

Parsnip

Parsnip by ©HTO3, via Flickr

SOUTH
Figs — With or without the cakey Newton, figs are sweet treats. Interestingly, the dried version has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than the fresh ones.

Michelangelo's Forbidden Fruit was a Fig

Michelangelo’s Forbidden Fruit was a Fig by Rubber Slippers In Italy, via Flickr

Kale — This is one of those wonder greens nutritionists are always reminding us to eat more often. Here’s a secret: Top any dark green with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

Kale!

Kale! by B*2, via Flickr

WEST
Peppers — Red, green, yellow, orange, purple, spicy, mild: Peppers come in a rainbow of colors and varying degrees of heat. Experiment with different kinds in dishes like stir-fry.

peppers

peppers by killrbeez, via Flickr

Pomegranates —You may have to put in a little effort to get to the juicy seeds, the only edible part of the fruit. An average-sized pomegranate can contain 600 seeds.

Pomegranate 4 רימון

Pomegranate 4 רימון by shyb, via Flickr

PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Artichoke — This thistle flower is tasty when dipped in melted butter or a kicked-up mayo. If you’re an artichoke newbie, ask an experienced friend to demonstrate how to scrape off the meat from the leaves and dig into the heart.

Artichokes

Artichokes by TonalLuminosity, via Flickr

Huckleberries — Think long-lost relative of blueberries. They’re similar in appearance, taste, and application, like sweet jams and preserves.

Huckleberries

Huckleberries by outdoorPDK, via Flickr

On September 10, 2001, as I crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, I looked to my right for a final glimpse of the cityscape. Since I’d moved away, the Manhattan skyline had become synonymous with “home.” From an eastbound viewpoint, it signified that I was almost there. And any time I traveled the bridge to return to Maryland, it represented the loved ones and lifestyle I would soon miss again.

The following morning—around 8:30 am on 9/11—I chatted breezily with my Healthcare Traveler colleagues about the John Mellencamp concert I’d attended at Jones Beach on September 9th. Not more than 20 minutes later, one of them abruptly swept back into my cubicle.

“Bobbi!” said Carolyn. “The news is on in the conference room. A plane just crashed into one of the buildings at the World Trade Center!”

I followed her to the area where a number of our coworkers had already congregated. As we stood there watching the live coverage, I wondered how the jet could have gotten so horribly off course. And I felt sick when I thought about the people on the affected floors of the tower who, like us, had just started their workday.

Then the second plane hit.

Oh, no, I thought in stunned silence, trying to process it all. This is deliberate.

I felt a sense of urgency in wanting to be near family and friends so I drove back to New York on September 14th. As I crossed the bridge into Brooklyn and looked at the skyline, I had to catch my breath. There was a large plume of white smoke hugging the area where the towers once stood. And while the vista still signified home, it was one of the most heartbreaking sights I’d ever seen.

I interviewed an RN and a CST who had been on assignment at two different New York City hospitals on that tragic day. Like so many in the New York metropolitan area, they wanted to do more.

Cover of the Nov/Dec 2001 issue of Healthcare Traveler

Dee, the nurse, donated blood and walked around the city for 9 hours handing out food, water, gloves, and masks with a colleague. Jason, the surgical technologist, volunteered at Chelsea Pier — where a triage center and ORs had been set up — and participated in a “bucket brigade” at Ground Zero.

Every year, in addition to remembering those lost on 9/11, I think about Dee and Jason—as well as the firefighters, police officers, paramedics, civilians, and other clinicians—who went above and beyond to help those directly affected by the unforgettable tragedy. Compassionate and dedicated, these exceptional healthcare travelers were a shining example of the inherent goodness in most people. And their selfless acts, along with those of countless others, provided a sense of comfort and community during a time of shock and overwhelming sadness.

***

As we honor the memory of those who lost their lives and those who volunteered their support and skills, we invite you to share your thoughts and comments here on our blog or via Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.

Happy Labor Day, everyone! While everyone’s favorite September holiday tips its hat to the economic and social contributions of American workers, it also also signifies the unofficial end of summer/beginning of fall. And of course, it is often celebrated with friends and family, and a variety of food-related festivities—from brunches and barbecues to potluck suppers and picnics.

As a traveler, you get to experience new beginnings every 13 weeks or so. You also have the opportunity to try regional fare and unique dining options in countless locations throughout the U.S. and beyond. Odds are you’ve discovered some pretty amazing and tasty treats along the way. You know, the kind of stuff you may never have stumbled upon if it weren’t for your mobile career.

We would love to hear about your picks for the best restaurants and takeout places in your assignment communities. We’d also like to learn about great eateries you’ve discovered en route to a contract destination.

To kick things off, I thought I’d tell you about one of my favorite haunts in New York City. If you find yourself in or close to the Big Apple during a travel assignment, consider a trip to Britain. No, that’s not a typo; I’m talking about Little Britain, the wonderfully Anglo-centric slice of the city’s West Village. It’s where you’ll find Tea & Sympathy.

Tea & Sympathy (right), situated in New York’s West Village.

For more than 20 years, owners Nicky Perry and Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett have provided New Yorkers and out-of-towners with the opportunity to enjoy a “proper cuppa” and traditional English fare. Once you set foot in this charming, authentic British café, you will be swiftly and happily transported to Dear Old Blighty. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy, the service impeccable, and all of the staff hail from the United Kingdom.

My recommendations? A proper bacon butty with HP brown sauce and of course, Tea & Sympathy’s famous scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream. As you may expect, there are a plethora of options for tea lovers, from black currant, to Chai, to my pick, Typhoo.

A delicious bacon butty!

Tea & Sympathy’s famous scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream. Yum!

A variety of teas in the sweetest little teapots.

Tea & Sympathy also serves spot on bangers and mash, and the best treacle pudding this side of Tooting Broadway. Located at 108 Greenwich Avenue, it is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm.

Happy travels,

Bobbi

Bobbi Harrison is content channel manager for Healthcare Traveler and LocumLife.

***

Like to recommend a great place for a bite? Contact Bobbi Harrison at bharrison@advanstar.com.

This just in…Healthcare Traveler (HT) is adding several new columns and departments to its print publication!

There will be an additional news section devoted entirely to those of you who are traveling rehab professionals. We also have a social networking department in the works and another that will bring you the latest on apps, sites, and technology to enhance your journeys. We’re even working on one that centers on your downtime.

What’s more, we are reintroducing a few of the tried-and-true, like Starter’s Kit, which covers the fundamentals of healthcare travel, and Travel Tips, to provide you with further resources and suggestions for success on the road.

You Said It, A Thousand Words, and In the Bag (formerly It’s in the Bag) are also making a comeback. As some of you may recall, your participation is essential to these three offerings. And to show our appreciation, if your contribution is used, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card. To participate, you have to be a current healthcare traveler; to reacquaint you, here’s a quick overview of each.

You Said It: This column includes personal responses to a question posed by HT. Currently, we want to know: What is the best tip you ever received from an experienced healthcare traveler? Please e-mail your answers to me at bharrison@advanstar.com. If we publish your response, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

A Thousand Words: If you’ve taken a beautiful, funny, or heartwarming photo on the way to an assignment location/within your assignment community, we’d love to see it! As an example, here’s one that I took earlier this month on my way from New York to Cleveland…

This terminal was for the birds!

For consideration, e-mail your high-resolution photo to me at bharrison@advanstar.com and include a little background information, such as where the photo was taken and what it features, etc. If we publish your image, you’ll be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

In the Bag: When packing for a new assignment, what are some of your must-have items, the things you’d never leave home without? If you – and some of your stuff – would like to be highlighted in this department, please contact me at bharrison@advanstar.com. If you are featured, we will not only need your photo but may also request pictures of a few of the things you take, like a travel necessity or favorite object, and a little background info. And if you are selected for this department, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

Participating is super easy and a lot of fun. If you have any questions or would like additional information, just drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy travels,

Bobbi

Bobbi Harrison is content channel manager for Healthcare Traveler and LocumLife.

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Photo: Big Hassle

If being on the move is stressing you out, try creating a pick-me-up playlist to improve your mood and relieve tension.

Need a few recommendations?

Check out these tunes to help maintain your sanity while on the road.

Settle Down – No Doubt

The Southern California band is back and better than ever with this dancehall-inspired track. Sure, the chorus will get stuck in your head but just sway with the melody and go with it.

Roll Away Your Stone – Mumford & Sons

If you aren’t already acquainted with this indie favorite, there’s no better Mumford & Sons song to introduce you to the British folk rock band than “Roll Away Your Stone.” The tune is contagious and perfect for highway driving with the windows rolled down.

Lights – Ellie Goulding

Get your dance on with this radio darling that was a hit in the UK a whole two years before it caught the attention of music lovers Stateside. Ellie Goulding had the honor of performing at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton so if she’s good enough for royalty, she’s good enough for your playlist.

Everybody Talks – Neon Trees

It’s nearly impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to the rockin’ feel-good tunes from Provo, Utah’s own Neon Trees. Upbeat and catchy, “Everybody Talks” is sure to be in heavy rotation on your MP3 player.

Unashamed Desire – Missy Higgins

Slow things down with this first single from Australian singer Missy Higgin’s latest disc The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. Bluesy and emotional, you’ll love her powerful voice and confident lyrics.

Kelly Bryant is a freelance entertainment writer based in Los Angeles, California.