By Claire Brocato, feature writer
From the country roads of South Carolina to the mountain peaks of Wyoming to the
rain forests of the Virgin Islands, surgical technologist and Iron Man
competitor, Eric Perron, has enhanced his career and honed his athletic skills
through his countrywide travels.
A native of Vermont, Perron first considered the possibility of becoming a
health care traveler while working at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington,
Vermont, where he came into contact with nurses, technologists and therapists
who were pursuing travel careers.
“The great thing about Vermont is that it is so isolated. However, the bad thing
about Vermont is that it is so isolated,” he laughed. “The more I heard about
the travel lifestyle, the more it intrigued me. I did a lot of research on the
Internet, spoke to many of the travelers at work and finally called Medical
Jackie Nelson at Medical Express has been Perron’s recruiter from his first
assignment in November 2000.
“We have a wonderful rapport,” he said. “When I call Jackie, she instantly
recognizes my voice. She’s the epitome of professionalism, but is personal and
friendly and easy to talk to at the same time.”
Since hitting the road four years ago, Perron has traveled from north to south
and coast to coast. From hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, to indulging
in fresh lobster in Maine, to snowshoeing in California, this adventurous
go-getter has spent much of his spare time exploring the great outdoors at each
of his assignment destinations, while simultaneously training for his annual
participation in the Iron Man race.
“I always travel with all my sporting paraphernalia,” he said. “My skis, my
snowshoes, my beach gear, my bicycles—they go everywhere I go. That way, I’m
always ready for whatever nature has to offer.”
However, last year, while working in Palo Alto, California, Perron’s active
lifestyle came to an abrupt halt when he seriously injured his back and had to
undergo endoscopic surgery to repair two ruptured discs.
“It was a rough time for me,” he said. “Instead of reaching my peak fitness
level for the Iron Man race, I was flat on my back, recovering from surgery.
Fortunately, my managers at Stanford Hospital, where I was working at the time,
were extremely accommodating, and I was able to take almost five months off work
to fully recover.”
Perron spent the summer recuperating in Santa Barbara, California, under the
watchful eye of a good friend. Although he couldn’t exercise, he kept himself
busy by visiting a nearby nursing home on a regular basis, where he entertained
the residents with his piano-playing skills.
“Running is my form of meditation,” he explained. “When I wasn’t able to run, I
turned to music as a form of relaxation. It was great to be able to share my
music with people who enjoyed listening to me.”
Once Perron felt strong enough to return to work, he chose an assignment in the
“The slower pace of life and the low-key work environment in the Virgin Islands
made it a perfect place to ease back into my job,” he explained.
there were the added benefits of being able to relax on deserted beaches,
snorkel coral reefs and hike the rain forests.”
After several months in the tropics, Perron returned to Stanford Hospital, where
he restarted his training regimen by running and biking in the Palo Alto
foothills. He kicked his training into high gear when he took an assignment in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he spent the spring months training amid the peaks
and canyons of the Grand Tetons.
In July 2004, Perron competed in the annual Iron Man triathlon (a 2.4 mile swim,
112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run) in Lake Placid, New York. He finished
122nd out of a field of 2,000 competitors—his best finish ever.
“Next year I hope to better my time by 10 or 15 minutes,” he said. “That should
qualify me for the Iron Man world championships.”
In the meantime, Perron is enjoying another island assignment, this time in
“I love the variety that my travel lifestyle has afforded me,” he continued.
“And, through it all, I’ve grown tremendously, both in my career and in my
personal life. I’ve been given so many unique opportunities and for that I’m
© 2004. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.