Getting Started with Locums in Three Easy Steps - Floyd Lee Locums


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Getting Started with Locums in Three Easy Steps

by Kelly Starkey in Dr Stephanie Freeman, How to Find a Job, Job Market 18/09/2018

Managing Expectations: Three Tools for Success and Satisfaction as a Locums Doctor

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An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or is supposed to happen in the future. When the reality of a situation doesn’t fall in line with one’s expectations, disappointment occurs. This is often the case when physicians start locums work. When the reality of locums does not line up with what they thought, physicians get discouraged.

To prevent this from happening, managing your expectations is imperative. Here are three simple steps you can take to ensure your locums expectations line up with the reality:

Be realistic. Let’s be honest. There is a reason you are performing or pursuing locums work—whether it is because you have lost your job, you have quit your job, you are burnt out, you don’t want to be a permanent employee, you need the money, or there are not that many local job opportunities. When you are realistic about YOUR reason for doing locums, you will be less likely to have lofty expectations about a locums assignment and more likely to get a good assignment that meets your needs.

Understand the reason. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a locums recruiter was this: “There is a reason you are there. If they had everything together, they wouldn’t need you.” This piece of advice has saved my sanity countless times. Over the years, I have come to realize that many places utilizing locums doctors are doing so out of a sense of emergency. Maybe a physician has quit unexpectedly. Maybe a physician is out on sick leave or maternity leave. Maybe it is a new program and they need to get locums physicians to work there ASAP until permanent physicians can be hired. Whatever the reason that the facility has chosen to use locums physicians, it is a time of transition for them. Things may not run smoothly, and there may be some glitches in the process. However, if you are cognizant of this, your level of stress and frustration will be kept to a minimum.

Know your role. The definition of locums tenens is “placeholder,” and that is exactly what you are. You are not there to “change the world,” so to speak. You are not there to revolutionize the way medicine is practiced at the facility. You are not there to point out the organization’s shortcomings. You have one job and one job only: to practice medicine. Provide the standard of care and do so within the confines and environment of the organization. Once you realize this, you can adjust your expectations accordingly.

The key to having success and satisfaction as a locums physician is to have realistic expectations during the locums process. One of the ways to do this is to have frank and honest discussions with reputable locums recruiters who can guide you through the whole process.The locums professionals at Floyd Lee Locums pride themselves on providing a concierge experience in which they offer superb service through all phases of the locums process. Contact them today at

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.