The world of a locum doctor is a transient one. Your job, by its very nature, is temporary, meaning, it can be hard to build relationships with your patients when you have such brief encounters with them before moving on to the next posting.  Yet, it is still very much possible to make a big first impression and gain instant trust and rapport from new patients.  Here’s some suggestions how, as a locum, you can still build meaningful doctor-patients relationships which matter.

First impressions are important

Like it or not, first impressions matter. As a locum, it’s going to be even more vital to ensure you are offering the very best version of yourself to new patients when you are filling in for their normal GP or specialist. Greeting them with a warm smile, being polite and an avid listener might seem like completely obvious traits, but in the fast-paced medical world, at times it can be easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of your schedule.  When a fresh face steps in, it can be a great chance to show patients from the minute you meet you will be an attentive and knowledgeable Doctor and they are far more likely to feel more at ease from the first meeting.

Always be organised

Quite in the same vein as the above suggestion, being timely is always going to put you in great favour with patients whom you’ve been yet to meet and treat. One of the greatest gripes patients have is the length of delays in getting in to see their Doctor. So, although it is impossible to account for unforeseen patient emergencies or those who are simply late due to being stuck in traffic, Locum Doctors should do the things within their power to be organised and keep as much to schedule as possible. 

Share your wisdom

One of the more little-known bonuses of being a locum is the increase of experience and knowledge which comes with this territory. Because you are exposed to all manner of roles in different hospitals and medical centres, locums often retain a far greater medical wisdom because they need to be across many different areas of treatments and diagnoses. You’ll soon inspire confidence in new patients when they see they are in the hands of a deftly intelligent Doctor who has a broad range of experience to call upon.

Confidence is key

Perception is reality and if you are projecting a presence of confidence, this will fast become your patient’s reality.  Yes, it can be daunting to fill in for long-standing Doctors and Specialists who have built up relationships held in high regard with patients, but it’s not an impossible feat to emulate that trust in a short amount of time. By showing you know your job well, and demonstrating your incredible depth of medical wisdom, you’ll be on the fast track to building a great rapport with patients in no time.

Make everyone your number one priority

It’s no secret many patients are feeling anxious about their doctor visit long before they arrive at the clinic - even when they know their trusted normal physician will be tending to them. So, if they must attend an appointment when their Doctor or Specialist is absent, it can be cause for more concern. Yet, if you treat them – and everyone who follows them – as if they are your most important priority of the day, you’ll not only put their minds at ease, but also have effectively begun to build a fast and firm relationship of trust.

Go the extra mile

It’s often the case Doctors are pressed for time and want to keep waiting-room times down. This can mean seeing patients as quickly as possible so that no one is left unduly delayed. But, as a locum, you have a golden opportunity to make a grand impression with new patients if you exceed their expectations.  By taking the time to offer more than just a diagnosis and a script and add in thorough advice and suggestions to help overcome the issue they have booked in to see you for, you are going to be offering an invaluable service. This going the extra mile will make for a deeper, more rapid bond of trust to be developed.

If you are a locum who is looking for a short-term or long-term position, or if you are in the medical profession and need a specialist or GP to step in while you are on leave, talk to Best Practice Medical today to see how we can assist.

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