Have you been thinking about going locum for a while, but aren’t sure where to start?

There are a few things you can do in preparation of making the big move from a permanent position to locuming:

Make a plan

As with any big change to your life, you need to make a couple of plans before quitting your current job.

The first is financial. Although locuming pays more than permanent positions, it is a good idea to have money saved before you start just in case you end up having breaks between jobs.

You should also sit down and discuss your locuming plans with your partner or family before you do anything. There are many big decisions you will need to make (such as whether or not you should move to a new location) which will impact your family so it is imperative to discuss everything with them first.

Pick a place

One of the joys of locuming is that you get to choose the location of where you want to go. This could mean a moving to a new suburb or state, or even to a new country!

If you want to stay local, you will need to decide which hospitals you are aiming for and how far you can travel from your home to get there.

Work out what you want

There must be a reason, or several reasons, why locuming appeals to you. It is very important to sit down and really work out what these reasons are. Once you have hit the ground running, it can be easy to lose sight of what your original goals were and what you wanted to get out of this change. For example, you might want to take up locuming for the flexibility so you can spend more time with your family. But as the job offers keep coming in, you might find yourself saying yes to everything that sounds good and eventually doing more hours than you were doing in your permanent position. This is why it’s good to have clear goals so they can be top of mind each time you review a potential job placement.

Remember to discuss your aims with your recruitment agency so that they know what kind of positions to put you forward for. 

Decide on a job

Before embarking on locuming, have a think about what your ideal job is. While the money or the flexibility might be the reason you moved into locuming in the first place, you still need to enjoy what you do for work each day. You spend so many hours in a job, it needs to be interesting to you or you will fast become unhappy.

Consider your career path and which placements will take you in the direction you want to be going. If you don’t want a career path – for example if locuming is your way of moving into semi-retirement – think about the kind of jobs you’re happy doing each day and aim for those.

You’ll also need to decide on a minimum amount of money that you are willing to work for. You might set the bar depending on the bills you need to pay, or you might set it against what you were earning in your last permanent position. This is important because you will find that if you end up taking a position that pays less than your acceptable minimum you will not be satisfied for long. The only time you should consider a job that is paying less is if the position will bring you experience that you have been needing.

Get your paperwork sorted

Once you have all of the above plans in place and a solid idea of what you want from locuming, it’s time to update your CV. Put a small blurb either on the CV or on a cover letter outlining the kind of work you wish to take up while locuming. Make sure your CV is fully updated and talks to the experience you have in the areas you wish to locum within. Also get your references lined up. Choose at least three people and ask them first if they would mind being your reference so they aren’t taken by surprise.

Next, go through all of your licenses and certificates to make sure everything is up to date and easily accessible. It is also a very good idea to look into personal insurance if you don’t have some already.

Secure an agent

Using a recruitment agency is the best way to locum. Time spent searching for jobs is wasted when you could be using those hours to do paid work that an agency has set you up with. Meanwhile, they will be busy securing your next position for when this one finishes up. Sign up with an agency for the best range of locuming positions.

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