Our 3 top tips on becoming a locum doctor

Locum

Written by ID Medical

01/02/2021

If you’re a doctor transitioning from your foundation years or a permanent post to life as a locum doctor, the way you secure work, integrate into hospital departments and understand processes will all change. So, we’re here to give you our top tips on transitioning to the life as a locum doctor.

Tip 1: Good habits will take the stress away

Being a locum doctor means plenty of travel, joining new departments, hospitals, trusts and possibly new UK locations – which means structures and processes will always change. To remove room for error and reduce your stress levels, it’s going to be useful to get into good habits regardless of what workplace you’re at.

For example, when it comes to patient handovers, make sure you always have a bullet pointed list on your person to communicate all the key points for each patient, so that nothing is missed by the incoming team. In addition, try and avoid abbreviations as each department will use different acronyms and now you’re a locum, it’s important to be as clear and concise as ever.

Last but not least, try and build productive and friendly relationships with the senior nurses as they’re the ones that will know absolutely everything about the department’s operability, helping to make your job go as smoothly as possible.

Tip 2: Take your wellbeing seriously

Life as a locum can be rather hectic, with your schedule always changing, new patients, new hospitals. Sometimes it can be a lot, which is why it’s absolutely essential to always prioritise your wellbeing. There are a number of ways  you can do this:

  1. Schedule in your days off with your medical recruitment agency – Depending on the days and times you prefer to work, try and schedule a couple of days a week where you can focus on you, your family and friends; helping you to recharge and relax.
  2. Don’t make life stressful for yourself – As a locum doctor, you’re going to need to ask questions as you won’t always know the normal ways of working. So, if you’re finding yourself in a situation with little knowledge – rather than getting stressed, stay calm and ask a colleague for help. Never feel embarrassed to ask questions, no matter how trivial.
  3. Practice self-care – This may seem like a popular buzzword right now, but taking time out to prioritise your physical, mental and social wellbeing is critical to excelling at work. It provides you with an opportunity to reflect, assess and set goals for not only your professional life, but your personal too.

Tip 3: Choose an exceptional medical recruitment agency

If you’ve opted for a life as a locum doctor, you’re going to need a brilliant and dedicated medical recruitment agency to support you in securing work. When it comes to maximising your relationship with your chosen recruitment agency, there are a few factors to consider before you make your final decision…

Expertise – The longer the agency’s been established, the more industry knowledge, expertise and hospital relationships they’ll have which will support you in securing work, wherever you want.

Technology – Communication is at the heart of recruitment and so, look for whether your agency finds ways to make communicating with them easier. For example, do they offer a WhatsApp service or are they active on social media?

Do they go the extra mile? Securing you shifts is great, but what makes a brilliant medical recruitment agency is one that truly cares about your needs and career goals. Do they provide wellbeing support, appraisal advice or offer any CPD courses? A well-rounded agency is an agency that can help take your career to the next level.

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