Travelers. We are trained and practiced in hitting the ground running under any circumstances. After a few assignments, every traveler realizes that all documentation systems are bad, but not equally bad, some are far worse than the others. Aside from a few operational issues, the job is the pretty much the same where ever you go, and it’s not too hard to blend into most teams quickly.

After a traveling on a few assignments, I realized a long orientation can be torturous. Given the choice of a HIPAA presentation, a JCAHO powerpoint, or walking on hot coals, I would take the hot coals in a hot second… besides, I’ve always wanted to try that.

Thanks for that, Adam Sandler

For a few assignments, I tried telling supervisors that I didn’t need much of an orientation. “Show me where equipment is, give me a quick run through the paperwork, and I’ll figure out the rest.” This tactic went well for a few assignments, and probably gave me a leg up during a couple interviews. But, it finally backfired last summer. I showed up to a private practice gig up in AK and had seven initial evals on the second day of work. Whoops, that’s too much work for the beginning of any assignment, I definitely over-played my hand.

So, now I’ve toned it down a bit – I have been accepting whatever orientation is bestowed upon me. There’s one phrase that I hear over and over again when I have a light caseload for the first week or two, “Enjoy it while you can.” I guess that’s the lesson I have learned. Orientation isn’t that bad. Easy work, easy money. If I’m allotted an hour for a test on JCAHO regulations, I can hammer it out in fifteen minutes and the extra 45 minutes will break even on a really busy day later in the assignment. Time for a fun side story: I once had four JCAHO audits in one year. Every one of my three facilities that year got audited while I was there, and, also, one of the staffing agencies I worked for was audited. I did an interview with the JCAHO auditor for the staffing agency. At the end of my interview, I got a chance to ask her a few questions. She said that there are over 300 staffing agencies accredited by JCAHO… that’s a lot and really amazes me.

Anyways, the strategy to just take whatever orientation is given to me has totally run-a-muck. I am currently in week 8 of a 12 week contract and finished my last orientation class just a week ago. To give my boss some credit, I am very well prepared. On the other hand, I have been completing online modules until today. I am officially done with orientation and will have only 5 weeks of work without any orientation.

There has to be some middle-point where in the future I can effectively express that I need some orientation, but also that I am seasoned and will be good to go early in the assignment. I haven’t found the happy-medium yet, but I’ll keep on trying.

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