Locum advice from working doctors

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BMA members offer their first hand advice when completing locum placements…

“Consider a name badge so patients and staff know who you are and do not just refer to you as ‘The Locum’.”

“If you have never used a particular computer system before, consider going in the day before you start and asking someone to give you a crash course. Also make sure you have your own password so that your consultations cannot be mixed up with anyone else’s.”

“Being a freelance locum suited me better once my children were at school. I could fit all my work in, in school hours. I was even able to be around for my children when they were at home studying for A levels and did surgeries when they were doing the exams.”

“Not everyone would enjoy working in a different practice every day or half day but I enjoy the variety and also the flexibility. I can choose when and where to work and learned very quickly what to do when I first go to a new practice to enable me to fit in with the working of the practice. I don’t have to be involved in all the hassles of running a business: staff problems, partners’ squabbles, complaints, missed targets etc. I can see patients and practice as a GP but leave the work at the door when I go home.”

“Ask for feedback. After your job finishes, think about what well, what didn’t, how the situation could be improved and most importantly whether you want to work there again!”

“Introduce yourself to nurses and other doctors if you see any. Also, always leave the room tidy.”

“Get known and liked by consultants, they are the ones who will hire you.”

“Be pleasant, even if no one else is. Remember you often get asked to work in places when they are struggling due to illness or bereavement.”

“Get income protection as this means you have some income if the worst happens and you too sick to work.”

“Do not be a fair weather locum. Sometimes you will have to work hours that may not be convenient for you and hospitals will appreciate this.”


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