The Locums Mindset: How to Make Locums Work for You
When doctors decide to start pursuing locums work, they are initially excited. However, that excitement can turn to fear and even disappointment when they don’t get the locums opportunities they are looking for, or their locums assignments aren’t what they expect.
When I talk to these physicians, I discover one thing they have in common… the one thing hindering their success as a locums doctor: They lack the right mindset. Having the right mindset is key if you want to be successful as a locums physician. Here are five strategies you can use to make sure you have the right locums mindset.
1.Locums work is temporary; don’t act like it is permanent. When transitioning from a permanent job to a locums position, you must shift your mindset from that of an employed physician to that of a locums physician. “Locums tenens” means “placeholder,” and you are just that. You are there to fill the holes in the schedule until a permanent physician can be hired. That means you are not there to change the world, so to speak. You are not there to revolutionize care. You are there to work. Period. You are there to practice medicine using the standard of care within the confines of that medical environment.
2.It’s okay to look. To keep a steady flow of locums work, your second job as a locums doctor is to always be looking for your next position. Regardless of how great your current assignment is—or whether you have a long-term locums assignment—you can maximize your chances of having continual locums work by partnering with recruiters from different companies. For some physicians, this can be difficult when they’ve worked with a recruiter at a certain company exclusively. But, just like your recruiters are talking to dozens of physicians each day to fill their jobs, you need to talk to several recruiters each week, so you can find your next locums role
3.Hit the road, Jack. Part of having the right locums mindset is being willing to travel for locums work. This is one of the most important things you can do to find lots of locums assignments. Remember this: If there were plenty of opportunities where you live, you probably wouldn’t want/need to pursue locums in the first place. Most locums opportunities are in underserved areas—areas that have a difficult time recruiting and retaining physicians. Being willing to work in those locations vastly increases your chances of finding good assignments. You travel to your assignment, work your assignment, and then go home. It really is that simple.
4.Manage your expectations. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a locums recruiter was this: “There is a reason you are there to provide locums. If the client had everything together, they wouldn’t need you.” This advice has saved me a lot of frustration while on locums assignments. There is a reason you are there. Whether it is because someone quit, a doctor is out sick, it is a new program, or the client has problems retaining physicians, you will soon figure out the reason you’re there. Due to these issues, things may not always go as smoothly as you would like. However, one of the ways you can decrease your chances of being frustrated is to manage your expectations and realize things may not go as planned.
5.Don’t sweat the small stuff. For a locums assignment to come to fruition, a lot of moving pieces must fall into place. This process is complex and can take months. For you to maintain your sanity throughout the locums process, control the things you can control and don’t worry about things you have no control over. There will be glitches in the process. There will be delays. There will be schedule mix-ups. But, try your best to “roll with the punches;” after all, some of these things are just part of the process.
Having the right mindset is key to having a successful locums career. The other key is to work with a good locums company. Floyd Lee Locums is a concierge locums company that prides itself on making sure its physicians have a superb locums experience. Their experts make sure all aspects of the locums process run smoothly, ensuring your locums experience is a good one. Contact the experts at Floyd Lee Locums today at www.floydleelocums.com.
Contributed by: Dr. Stephanie E. Freeman.
Stephanie E. Freeman, MD, earned her Medical Degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and her Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Freeman also completed a Geriatrics fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. She obtained her Masters of Business Administration at Auburn University.