Healthcare IT Job Search – “Life Is like a Box of Chocolates…”

“You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get!” – Forrest Gump. I’m a “seasoned” Healthcare IT “Road Warrior” with over 25 years of Healthcare IT experience (these past six and a half years my career is focused on Epic Systems, Inc. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software, as a Certified EMR Consultant). From mid 2009 through to 2010 I was on contract assignment with the same Healthcare facility. Then, beginning of this year, I returned to the interviewing process seeking new contract assignment opportunities for a variety healthcare facilities nationwide. Thus, these past 5 months have been particularly interesting making me compare this recent experience of mine with this quote from Forrest Gump, the 1994 American comedy-drama film. Yes, that beautifully wrapped box of chocolates – each piece looking so delicious that we may think that every one of them will taste sooo good… more about that later.

Let’s get back to my most recent Epic EMR consulting interview process based on the many, many recruiter calls and emails that I received daily, I then whittled my professional “box of chocolates” opportunities down to the specifics of what job specifications/titles seemed best suited for my professional background.  And also, I mainly deal with recruiters/recruiting firms that I’m aware of who have a good track record – VERY IMPORTANT! Especially now, in light of this being a very competitive and lucrative EMR Job Market at the present time. Well, over a year ago I shared my experiences dealing with recruiting agencies in my blog entitled The Puppeteers of Healthcare IT Jobs – it’s still relevant folks…you never know what you’re gonna get! Most EMR consulting assignment searches are handled by telephone interviews (sometimes via Skype), therefore most job candidates are hired ‘sight’ unseen from the client’s perspective and client ‘site’ unseen from the consultant’s perspective, essentially – both are getting that nice looking, unopened box of chocolates!

Once you have your new contract agreement; rate, terms, conditions, etc. negotiated and reviewed by legal counsel – you still need to consider the following issues (these things your recruiter may not discuss with you, mainly because their primary goal is job placement – my goals now include job placement compatibility), so before you decide on “signing” your contract/employment agreement:

  • Do all of the normal “due diligence” regarding the particular healthcare institution’s stability – both financial and their track record with EMR Implementation.
  • Google the client-site address and take a peak at the geographic landscape.
  • Network with your fellow consultants and seek feedback from others who may have been on this same client assignment – it’s exciting to travel nationwide, but different parts of the county have a variety of  “business cultures” – the life of an EMR “Road Warrior” requires one to be very adaptable, so knowing what is expected ahead of time will help in the adjustment process.
  • Get a feel for the client’s EMR Implementation staff’s organizational structure/chart – Who will you be reporting to? Who is the individual you are reporting to, reporting to? and what is their management style? How is the consultant staff  treated versus the Full-time staff?
  • Exit Terms – Do you know what your contract states about this – most EMR Consultants are contracted on a  “at will”  basis, meaning the consulting agency and/or healthcare institution can end this assignment at any time. Make sure you know your options – how can you professionally end this contract assignment if it’s not what you thought it would be?

Now getting back to the Forrest Gump ” box of chocolate’s…,”  you may think you’re biting into a nice chocolate covered fruit like a cherry, lemon, orange or strawberry, but to your surprise it could be some type of  “nut!” (smile). And until you arrive at the client-site and begin to mingle with the full-time staff and management – it’s only your first hand experience that will reveal what you are gonna get!

Please reply with your” box of chocolates” Healthcare IT consulting job search experiences!

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Shirley Corsey

Shirley Corsey is a certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Consultant/Road Warrior, and owner of her own online training center for the Healthcare Information Technology industry. She is a seasoned Healthcare IT professional with over 25 years experience, with a recent career focus for the past 9 years in the EMR job market.

2 Comments

  • Shirley – Thank you very much for this post. I think your suggestions to EMR consultant candidates out there are top notch. I believe all of these are particularly relevant given there are many first-time consultants who are leaving their full time roles for consulting engagements.

    I might also suggest that consultants chat with another of the consulting firm’s employees. I one set up a conversation between a potential consultant with an active one. Both these gentlemen were flying from Atlanta and would be with the same client. Having the reference check, if you will, helped the potential consultant make the best decision for him.

    Thank you again Shirley!

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