Cross-training advantages for a traveling nurse

Written by Chelsea Idzior on Monday, June 03, 2013 Posted in Education & Career Advancement

If you are a traveling nurse, you are probably someone who likes new experiences and someone who wants to learn and grow in your profession. There are a number of ways to do this, yet there's one way that is sometimes overlooked – cross training.

Cross training is learning a new skill in an area that is different from your own. It adds to your professional expertise and makes you more valuable to your employer. Cross training has other advantages such as keeping your work interesting and exciting, enhancing your motivation and preventing your job from lapsing into a dull routine of the same tasks. It is an opportunity for learning and professional development. Cross training leads to better coordination and teamwork because people in different areas are working together.

If you are interested in cross training opportunities, work with your recruiter and let him or her know what skills you are looking to gain and what your overall career goals are. The recruiter can help you work toward getting the training you want.

There are several things to keep in mind when you are looking at cross training programs. You want to make sure that the healthcare organization has incorporated cross training as a planned process, and not a spur of the moment department transfer. Feedback and suggestions for improvement should also be part of the program.

If learning new or very different skills is involved, the program should include a formal training element. You should also receive an orientation to your new area, where the procedures and policies are explained.

You want to make sure the healthcare organization gives you the time you need to learn the new skills and that you are not being asked to pull double duty--performing all of your usual duties while learning the new skills. At some places, cross training is used as a way to fill gaps rather than hiring staff. In this case, staff members are usually pulled around more haphazardly, and real training gets lost in the shuffle.

Another thing to keep in mind is your term of service at the organization. It may be more difficult to gain cross-training experience if your assignment is a relatively short term one.

Good cross-training programs will document that staff have indeed mastered the new skill through some form of evaluation.

If you're a Registered Nurse with one or two years of professional experience and you're interested in learning more about a career as a healthcare traveler, contact a recruiter at Health Providers Choice today. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our many traveling opportunities with you!