How to feel at home whilst travelling for locum work

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One of the biggest advantages of undertaking locum work is the fact that your career can take you anywhere – once equipped with your qualifications and medical school experiences you can work anywhere in the country, within any hospital you fancy, so becoming a locum doctor is a fantastic idea if you have itchy feet or a yen for exploration. Even if you stay within the boundaries of the UK, there are still so many options. Medicine is one of the very lucky professions where you can travel wherever you want to and be paid to provide a high calibre service, dealing with interesting cases and patients.

Total Assist Group work with NHS trusts both in Scotland and Ireland as well as our native England so you don’t need to feel restrained by your immediate boarders if you want to adventure further afield. With partners in every part of the country, we can easily arrange for you to work in regions or cities that you have never visited before, giving you a brilliant opportunity to investigate a relocation and examine what kinds of environments work best for you. An example of this would be whether you are the ultimate city guru or whether a countryside rural utopia is more your scene. As we are able to secure accommodation if required for any and all locum placements, there are no limits whatsoever on you being able to head all around the United Kingdom.

If you do decide to stretch the locum legs and see what NHS services outside of your front doorstep are like then you could be opening new windows of clinical opportunity. However, we know it can sometimes be tricky settling in to a traveling routine as well as being away from family and friends for stints of time. To help you adjust to the travel involved, here are our top tips to make anywhere feel like home.

Feeling at home during a locum placement

1) Stock up your locum accommodation. Generally, locum accommodation can differ quite a lot, so it’s always a good idea to have a stash pack of various bits and pieces that you can take with you to every travelling assignment. We recommend you take the following with you:

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  • Store cupboard staples, such as cooking oil, sugar, tea, coffee, salt and pepper. This will save you buying new packets every time you travel and then just being left with numerous half finished packs
  • Take something to eat for breakfast on the first day, as you may not have had time to do a food shop yet
  • Kitchen and cleaning supplies such as zip lock bags for leftover food, bin liners, dish cloths and washing up liquid
  • Kitchen knife – if you are a bit of a foodie you don’t want to be dealing with a blunt knife for your carving and cutting needs, so it may be wise to have your own or a knife sharpener
  • Hair dryer
  • Wireless internet. You should never assume that an internet cable will be available.
  • Indulgence item to really make you feel at home, for example, if you are partial to having your tea brewed in a teapot instead of the mug, or your coffee from a cafetiere instead of instant

2) Always unpack. You might be tempted to just live out of a suitcase, even if you are only on a placement for a week, but to really get settled in, it is important to make sure you unpack and have your belongings dotted around the place to make you feel at home. Make sure you unpack all your stuff within 24 hours.

3) Retain some of your normal routine. There is no need to ditch the daily jog or cafe coffee just because you are in a new town. Yes, it may take a bit more effort since you are unfamiliar with your surroundings but you can still enjoy your favourite activities. Get into the habit of asking new colleagues where the best places to go are and you’ll soon have a hit list of venues to check out that will help you learn more about your placement away from work. This is also a great way to discover like minded people if you fancy a natter.

4) Find unique things. Be a tourist on your days off and explore your new environment. For example, you may want to trek around some particularly picturesque hills you’ve read about, or sample some food at a nearby famed farmer’s market. It’s a good idea to have a vague idea about what you’ll be doing before you leave home however, just so you can make sure you pack the appropriate clothes and footwear.

5) Stay in touch. Family and friends needn’t be far away with Skype, email, Facebook, phone calls, text messages and Twitter. You don’t need to feel disconnected from your loved ones at all.

6) Make new friends. A good rule of thumb, especially if you are on long term placements that could last a number of months, is to never say no to an invitation. You may need to step outside of your comfort zone, and find yourself on a pub crawl with the majority of people you don’t know, however it’s a brilliant way to get to know your new colleagues.


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