This article is sponsored by Travel Nurse Across America®
Guest Post By: Brittany Bennett
Over the years, EMR conversions have become a very popular reason to hire travel nurses. Facilities across the country are changing or upgrading their EMR systems and require an increase in staffing to perform these changes and get everyone trained on the new system. One of my very first travel assignments was an EMR conversion. I had no idea what to expect and was nervous enough being a newbie to travel nursing. Little did I know, it would be one of my better contracts and the knowledge learned would assist me in many other assignments and areas of my life. While working EMR conversions can come with challenges, here are five reasons why they just may be one of your greatest travel assignments.
Strengthening your resume
It’s no surprise that being able to operate more than one EMR system comes in handy as a nurse. We are already some of the best multi-taskers in the business, and being able to go from job to job while easily adapting to a different computer program makes you even more marketable for future jobs. With the market becoming more and more competitive for desirable locations and pay, being able to list a knowledge base of several EMR systems and completion of conversion assignments may give you a boost above another applicant.
Learning a new skill
Travel nurses are regularly referred to as adventure seekers. We like challenges and welcome new information. If you are already familiar with an EMR system, then life will just be all the easier for you. While permanent staff are stressed out and possibly struggling with changes, your presence will be doubly valued and you may be asked to be a resource or even placed in a position of supervision during the conversion. If the system is new to you, classes are required during your contract and often take the place of bedside hours worked during that time. During my first EMR conversion, I had two and a half weeks of classes and limited bedside hours. Getting paid to learn a new skill and taking a break from patient care can be very nice!
Opportunity for better pay
EMR conversions can be demanding. You are balancing patient care along with the system conversion and it is no doubt a high-stress environment for everyone working, especially during a “go-live” shift. Because of the extra strain on the staff, hospitals will sometimes offer incentives for their permanent staff and pay their travelers a higher rate than a non-conversion assignment. Conversions are also more popular in higher-paying states like California or Massachusetts. While the pay may not be a deciding factor when considering an EMR conversion, a little extra cash for off-day adventuring never hurts.
Make more travel buddies
During my first EMR conversion assignment, I was one of 10-12 travel nurses in the emergency department where I was working. This made for instant new friends and travel partners. Hospitals going through EMR conversions need lots of additional staff and you have a better chance at not being the only traveler in your department (been there, done that) by working a conversion. Permanent staff members are also fun friends (I’ve made some great ones!), but fellow travel nurses tend to understand the lifestyle a little better and are almost always up for exploring the temporary surroundings.
Let’s be honest here. I don’t know a single nurse who would turn down free food. Funny yes, but what’s better than the sudden appearance of a delicious pizza, sub sandwich, or chocolate during a crazy shift? The hospital and management know the staff is under pressure, and they are typically good at showing up with or sending in food during those times. Sometimes even the physicians and/or staff purchase food for the shift or organize a pot luck meal. It’s a nice perk, even if it isn’t the first or last thing you think of when deciding on an assignment.
As mentioned, EMR conversions are not without challenges or issues. Travel nurses must be ready to take on the demands of such an assignment. Showing up with a positive attitude and readiness to learn or help teach is a necessity in these types of jobs. If you have ever considered or are considering working an EMR conversion, I urge you to try it at least once. The advantages far outweigh the bad stuff and you won’t be disappointed.