Travel Nurses Quit After “Horrendous” Conditions During Mayo Clinic EMR Conversion
By Chaunie Brusie
As any nurse knows, introducing any type of new electronic system in the hospital setting generally leads to mass chaos. New systems = resistance, crashes, and lots of frustration from staff who are used to doing things the “old” way.
To ease that transition as they launched their new electronic records system, Epic, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota hired a team of seven nurses to help. The travel nurses, all of whom were already familiar with the Epic system, were recruited by the Mayo’s vendor, the HCI Group, which was hired to oversee the installing and training of Mayo’s employees through the installation.
Many of the travel nurses who were hired for the conversion were excited to be part of the project to put their skills to use, as well as receive a pretty hefty paycheck. For example, Angela Coffaro, an operating room nurse from Texas, signed on for the $15,000 job as her first travel position. Unfortunately, however, Coffaro was forced to quit after only days on the job. And the reason? Working conditions that were called “horrendous.”
Speaking to ABC 6 News, one nurse claimed that the contract nurses were verbally abused, intimidated, and threatened that they would lose their jobs on an “hourly” basis. However, according to MPR News, none of the travel nurses on the Epic team at Mayo reported ill-treatment by the actual Mayo Clinic or its own staff, but expressed extreme frustration at the hands of HCI group. The group misused the nurses by assigning them to positions where their skills were useless; Coffaro was sent to the outpatient eye clinic instead of the OR and another OR nurse was sent to radiology. The group also reportedly refused to let nurses leave the training room to use the restroom, even over the course of six to eight- hour orientation sessions.
Reports say that the group also failed to provide adequate accommodations for nurses that had traveled across the country for the position. Professionals like Kumbi Madiye, a nurse practitioner from Cleveland, were left stranded and waiting for rooms they were promised were near their workstations. Madiye ended up arriving at 9 AM the day before her training was scheduled to start, only to wait 14 hours and then find out at 11 PM that her actual assigned room was an hour-and-a-half away in the Twin Cities.
Other professionals shared their own hotel horror room stories of unacceptable long waits, in some cases, overnight, and hotel rooms that ended up being over an hour away. And all of the delays equaled adding precious time to the project, time that the nurses aren’t even sure they will be compensated for.
Currently, many of the nurses who ended up leaving the Mayo Clinic job are hesitant to share their names with press, as they are awaiting payment and are afraid that speaking out could lead to financial retribution. And their worries may not be unwarranted, as the HCI group has received complaints about payment before. Just recently, the group settled a 3.2 million dollar case in which they were accused of withholding overtime payments to contractors. So, nurses beware: HCI is next slated to work with Mayo on the Epic system migration in Florida and Arizona next. If you’re recruited, you may want to make extra sure that you’re in good hands before you sign that contract.