A locum doctor is a doctor who takes temporary placement when there is an opening left by another doctor who is away or when a practice is short-staffed. A person who is locuming will go where the work takes them, and will fill a place until the regular doctor or a permanent doctor starts. They will then move onto the next place that needs a locum. Why would someone consider choosing to locum? Here are some of the benefits that some doctors gain from this type of work:
What better way to get an array of experience in different settings and locations, and possibly even in different areas of medicines than by locuming.
One week you might be working in a bustling inner city hospital and the next, you might find yourself in a small community practise. Both settings will give you different types of experience as you will be exposed to a diverse range of cases and new procedures and systems. Even if you are a seasoned doctor with many years of service behind you, a fresh change can bring a lot of unexpected new experiences and learning with it.
Being a locum means you could end up anywhere in this huge country of ours. You might find yourself in the busy major cities, or you might find yourself off the beaten path entirely, in places you have barely heard of let-alone had considered visiting. So if you’ve always wanted to do some travel around Australia, this is one great way to do it. Imagine experiencing life as a local in each new area you go to, and making new friends at each placement. And this is all the while gaining more work experience. You won’t be falling behind in your career while you travel, and you’ll be paid well to do it.
Meet new people
We all know how easy it can be to fall into the routine of life and stay within our comfort zone. Working in a permanent position can see you settle into the monotony of everyday life and socialising within the same circle. But working in different practises or hospitals means you are always going to be doing something new and different and even ‘the normal routine’ won’t be so normal.
You will be on your toes to start, learning the ropes and the ins and outs of a new place, but you’ll also be energised by being in a new setting with new people. It’s a great chance to make some friends and do some activities that you may never have thought to do otherwise. Some of these friends might become lifelong pals and who knows? You might end up working permanently with some of them one day.
Help make decisions
While you are enjoying the travel, the new friends and gaining experience, you can be deciding the whole time where it is you might like to settle down. Seeing all of the different options will hopefully make it easier for you to start to work out where you wish to be in this world.
Even if you’ve always known exactly which hospital you’d like to be placed in, you can always ‘test drive’ it by locuming there first. You may surprise yourself and decide it’s not for you, and you’ll be glad you were not locked into a permanent position by the time you worked it out. All of the friends and colleagues you’ve met along your journey of being a locum will be helpful once you do decide to go permanent somewhere – it is good to have ears to the ground letting you know when a position is opening up.
The money you make from locuming is often far higher than a salaried position. If you haven’t decided exactly where it is you are wanting to work permanently yet, it doesn’t hurt to be earning a good living while you try a few places out.
Flexibility is probably one of the best benefits of going locum. Travel, trying new places, not being tied down in one position are great points about flexibility that have already been mentioned above.
But there is also a refreshing flexibility in being able to pick and choose placements around timings that suit you. For example, if you are someone who likes to holiday in Hawaii every winter, you can choose your placements around this annual trip without having to worry about applying for leave.
It is also a great way to earn money if you have decided to go back to study or wish to take leave for other reason. You can pay the bills while not getting locked into a full time job.
As you can see, there are many benefits to going locum but it is up to each individual to decide if it’s right for them.
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Whether you are an RMO, registrar, specialist or GP, whether you are looking for a short-term or long-term position, BPM can find placements to suit your specific needs and availability.
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