Being a locum doctor isn’t just a way to pay the bills, but it also provides a brand new way of life that many medics choose to enjoy. Not only is locum work in abundance at the moment, due to NHS staff shortages, but also because being a good locum doctor is actually a special skill, where you need to develop an enthusiastic flexibility with a love of change and challenges, as you head into unknown placements to tackle mystery patients and their problems. Although many patients can feel a bit wobbly about seeing a locum doctor instead of the ‘regular’, what you can bring to the table can actually be immensely beneficial to patients, as it gives them the opportunity to tell their story afresh, with you providing brand new insights and advice on an old illness – this second opinion almost may pick up on a missed diagnosis.
One of the greatest advantages of working as a locum doctor is the fact you are never bored. Providing a new viewpoint on well worn routines can be incredibly useful for hospitals, and pitting your past locum experiences against your newest placement is also interesting. You may be able to influence the working culture, help re-organise badly managed areas or even suggest ways to boost clinical care. Being a temporary worker also has it’s plus points, as if for some reason you disliked working in a certain hospital or location, you can simply decide never to step foot in there again without worrying about resigning or how you can afford to leave work.
If you also found yourself getting embroiled in management issues in the past, locum work can help you avoid that, enabling you to focus purely on patient care, which is hugely rewarding. Negotiating holiday with colleagues is also not a problem, as you get to manage your own workload and diary as a locum, able to pick and choose the hours that suit you best. Being your own boss means you can more easily fit work around your family and other commitments, taking holiday whenever is convenient. Locum work is also the ideal opportunity to earn whilst you undertake other projects, such as study or exploring other areas of medicine.
Becoming a locum doctor also provides the invaluable opportunity to broaden your experience. Some doctors stumble into locum work since they are unable to find anything permanent, however you should always make the most of it. For example, if you have tended to be based in suburbia settings, then why not head for the inner city or branch out into rural scenery? You can opt for big hospitals or small hospitals, relishing the chances to learn about new patient demographics and areas. Equally, you can use locum work almost like a trial to discover whether you want to work in certain hospitals or not – this can be time saving when looking for permanent positions. If you are considering retiring, locum work can also be a rewarding way to wind down and slow up your pace whilst still enjoying the work that you love.
Advantages of locum work:
- You can decide when and where you work
- Combines well with a portfolio career and other commitments such as family, hobbies or even a second job
- You aren’t burdened by bureaucracy so patient care is a priority
- Satisfaction at helping hospitals when the chips are down and they need all hands on deck
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