Tips for Locum Medical Professionals

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Published: 25 Jun 2017      

If you have perused some of the vacancies that are currently available at Sonographers Medical, you will note that several of them are for locum positions. We have long specialised in helping medical professionals find temporary medical jobs, often as they make transitions into more permanent roles.

However, the role of a locum medical professional comes with its own set of hardships and you must be fully prepared to shoulder those responsibilities before taking on such a role. Here we are going to look at just a few tips that you should keep in mind if you are considering taking a locum medical role.

Maintaining Strong Patient Records

Keeping good patient records is important for medical professionals in general, but those working in locum roles should pay extra attention to the accuracy of the information that record and distribute. Bear in mind that at some point you will need to make a handover to somebody who takes the role on a more permanent basis, which means recording records in a way that somebody else may not understand does not benefit you, other medical professionals, or your patients. Consider the very likely situation that you only see a patient on one occasion during your locum tenure. If you don’t record details down properly, you make the work of the next doctor who sees that patient all the more difficult.

Communicating With Permanent Staff

The nature of a locum role means that you will often need to communicate with more regular staff to help them understand the actions you have taken with patients that you only see a couple of times. Again, it comes down to the handover of information. Locum doctors must be capable of providing sufficient detail during the handover process to let permanent staff know about the thinking they employed while working with the patient, while also ensuring that the permanent staff has the information needed to continue work with the patient once the locum professional has departed.

Remembering Competence

While working in a locum role offers many rewards, such as the ability to bolster your clinical expertise through variance of work, you should also remember that taking work that stretches beyond your competence can endanger others. On the simple level, this could involve taking on more work in the role than you can safely handle, which will often lead to things being missed during handovers or while working on patients.

However, the more important danger is taking on work that stretches beyond your clinical knowledge. Safe prescription signing is a particular issue. Many locum doctors will find themselves with a batch of repeat prescriptions to sign upon taking the role. It is crucial to examine each one and not sign any that require expertise beyond what you currently have. Carelessness in this regard could place your career in jeopardy. More importantly, it could cause issues with a patient as well. As such, it is important to make clear the work that you can conduct in the locum role and make arrangements for any issues that go beyond your medical competence.

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