How to prepare for a new locum assignment

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Here at Total Assist Group, we don’t just abandon you once you have been booked for a locum placement. As a Recruitment Consultant here heading up the Obs & Gynae and Paedriatrics team, I view it as just as important to ensure you are settled and successful in your placement as it is to help you find the position in the first place.

With that in mind, here are my top tips for planning and preparing for your locum placement to make sure you are as ready as possible come clocking in time.

1) What work have you exactly agreed to do? Make sure you know what you are getting in to by clarifying what the hospital expect your duties to be and involve – for example, if you are running a ward, how many patients you will be expected to see, or if you are a registrar, whether your role will include teaching. Once you have this information, you will then be better placed to organise your days. I can always help you find this out.

2) Will you be flexible? This is something you need to decide beforehand, for example, will you say yes if the hospital ask you to work a couple of additional hours since they are struggling with patient demand? Equally, if the hospital wish to extend your placement, is this something you would be interested in, or even available for?

3) Double check your admin. Having another check through your professional paperwork is always a good idea before you start a new locum shift, just to ensure that nothing expires or runs out whilst you are in the middle of your placement. If anything needs renewing or dealing with, I can always advise you on how to proceed.

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4) Know your routes. This may sound simple enough, and I know you will navigate a route to the hospital and work out your estimated journey time, however it is always worth planning a few back up routes or plan B’s, just in case you stumble across a traffic jam. accident or diversion that may take you off course. Especially if you are working in a brand new location, having a few routes available to you could save you time in the morning, as you always want to try and arrive early.

5) Do you need an induction? Different hospitals use different computer systems, so if you know that your upcoming placement uses one you haven’t tackled before, you may want to book in a induction the day before you start to avoid first day stress. You may also need a fuller induction if you need to be briefed on hospital procedures, although this information could be provided in a locum information pack given to you by the hospital. See what information you receive and if you need an induction beforehand, then ask. I can help you arrange one if necessary.

6) Research the hospital. Finding out additional facts about your new base is never a bad thing, especially if you are going to be there on a more long term basis. It is particularly useful to find out about the local area and typical patient demographic, as this could give you some insights into the kinds of cases and patients you’ll come across during your shifts.

7) Food! Every hospital will have different facilities when it comes to canteens and food courts. Until you find your feet, it may be a wise idea to plan your own food with a packed lunch and your own snacks, just in case. Once at the hospital you can suss out for yourself whether you fancy the food hall fodder or whether you’d rather stick to your classic cheese and pickle sarnie. This is also a consideration if you are working on call or night shifts, as the food facilities may be closed during these times, so in that case, it is essential you bring your own so that you can work to the best of your abilities on a full stomach.


  • Take a notebook with you, or start a new document on your laptop to make some notes about your experiences. That way, you can refer to them at a later date when deciding whether you want to take on work at that site again
  • Ask for feedback, especially if it is your first locum placement. Another factor of this is that you could ask your colleagues whether they would mind being referees for you in the future – this would be particularly useful if you have done a long term placement

[testimonial name=”David Wopling” who=”Senior Recruitment Consultant” imagelinks=”” vertical=”no”]”I have been working as a Senior Recruitment Consultant, leading the Obs & Gynae / Paediatrics team for about four and a half years now. If you work within these specialties, then I would be more than happy to find you a fantastic placement.”[/testimonial]


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