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I’m a traveling EHR Consultant. Dozens of colleagues who have asked about working as a consultant, and voiced numerous concerns about what they think they’ll experience as a traveling consultant.  In this myth-busting feature, I’ve compiled some of the more frequent inaccuracies that I repeatedly hear about this lifestyle.

Myth #1: You don’t get to grow as a professional – False

I consider myself fortunate to work as a part of a dedicated and capable team, where I consistently have the opportunity to work in challenging roles that expand my skill set and experience. Some of my responsibilities have included acting as an engagement lead and mentor for other team members, as well as, implementing change policies that have led to strategic roadmaps that have allowed organizations to achieve a shared vision.

Myth #2: You have no choice about where you work – False

You hear the horror stories about how consultants spend months or maybe years in some remote city where the weather is below zero, and the local burger hut is considered fine-dining. The truth is I have worked in some great cities, met some amazing people and have not had to rely on the question: “Would you like fries with that shake?”While it’s certainly possible to work in some less than ideal locales, one thing to remember is that consulting is a client-driven business and you end up going where the client needs are located.  The great thing about Optimum is that leadership actually listens and works with our consultants to help find that happy medium for projects. Of course, this will vary from client to client, but I call this the power of the 3 R’s – Right Consultant, Right Fit/Job, and Right Location.

Myth #3: There is no time for exercise, and you are sleep deprived – False

While It’s true that you are on the road, that does not mean you should not take care of yourself.  There still should be a balance with exercise; not too much, not too little, but just enough. This could be as simple as finding time for exercise every morning. If done right 30 minutes first thing in the morning is plentySpeaking of sleep, that is something at the top of my list for self-improvement. Find a way to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night if you can. This may prove difficult as the needs of the client and the project change or as you move into the go-live period, but a good balance is important, and Optimum’s project leads will always work to keep you as fresh as possible.  This will help you stay focused on the reason that you are there – the client! We should never stop making every effort to take care of ourselves.

Myth #4: There is not a work/life balance working as a consultant – False

This is a legitimate concern for just about anyone who’s never been a traveling consultant. The hours worked, and workloads vary based on the firm that you work for and the client’s needs. The weeks where there are critical deliverables you might see an increase in the hours worked (50-60 hours). However, this is not something that occurs all the time and does not represent a typical workweek.I would say that working for Optimum Healthcare has definitely created an environment where the work-life balance is encouraged, respected, and supported. This provides me the opportunity to excel as a professional and focus on family values.

The life of a traveling consultant can be both challenging and rewarding, simultaneously.  And there are definite tradeoffs that must be considered. A lot of a person’s experience depends on the consulting company they work for and the client their supporting.  However, it can be a very rewarding experience.  Visiting new cities and cultures around the country and building relationships with colleagues and clients as shared engagements shape the experience for everyone and is a reward in itself.  Being challenged to perform new tasks, lead new teams, complete difficult jobs or develop skills based on the client’s needs are some of the most rewarding moments you can expect to have in your career.You’ll experience these and more out on the road…

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