Being a locum Doctor appeals to many in the medical profession. Whether it is because you are between jobs, desire a more flexible career or possess the desire to gain first-hand experience in a wider range of medical fields, it can be an attraction option to pursue amongst the 72,000 medical practitioners currently working in Australia (ABS 2011). But it also takes a special kind of Doctor to be considered a good locum. Here’s a look at what key personality traits you’ll need to ensure you make your locum medical career a success, along with how to source superb locums for your busy medical practice or hospital.

First Impressions Count

It’s no secret first impressions count. However, making a memorable one with patients and colleagues is what sets apart the good locum’s doctors from the average one.  By making an effort of introduce yourself warmly and possess an approachable manner with everyone you interact with, you’ll be fondly viewed by staff and patients alike.

Stay Up To Date

The knowledge required to be a doctor is not only immense, but also evolves with time. There is constantly new research underway, trials and results, and as a locum doctor, you are expected to keep abreast of all of the latest findings in the medical profession. Whether you subscribe to journals, such as The Medical Journal of Australia or publications, be sure to dedicate time to staying up to date with all the latest health and medical news so you can offer your patients current and accurate advice.

Be Compassionate

Showing care and compassion when people need it most is of critical importance as a Doctor.  When you are a locum however, you often have stepped into fill the shoes of someone’s trusted regular GP or specialist, meaning you have not had a chance to build up the same level of expectation or rapport. An excellent locum will possess a superb bedside manner and the ability to grow and nurture relationships in a timely fashion. They will listen, be empathic and offer comfort at a time their patients need it most.

Be Reliable

Possibly the most important skill a good locum can possess is reliability. It is a key element of your role as a locum to be where you say you will, when you say you will. There is no point being in this aspect of the medical profession if you are unreliable or likely cancel shifts at the last minute. It is your job to not only set a high standard of work, but also set a high standard of professionalism, meaning you will be viewed as a dependable employee who will not let anyone down.  

Have Excellent Organisational Skills

It goes without saying that needing to be supremely organised is of vital importance as a locum doctor. Not only do you need to possess the right skills to manage your time, as well as stay on top of all the administrative aspects of being a locum, including taxes, insurance and the paperwork required for each locum position you accept, but you need to be organised in terms of dealing with patients. You’ll not only reduce waiting times and make more accurate diagnoses, but you will also increase patient satisfaction, which is a key ingredient to being recognised as an excellent locum. 

Confidence is Key

As a locum, it can be confronting to have to step into the shoes of experienced and much loved Doctors at short notice. This is also especially so if you are dealing with patients who are in the midst of protracted, painful medical episodes.  You will be well advised to act with confidence in all situations, to put patients mind at ease and not add to their worries. They need to feel they can trust this locum is well-versed in treating them and will give them knowledgeable advice or treatment.

How to Find a Good Locum

Locum work is appealing because of its flexible and interesting nature. Doctors are granted the opportunity to experience many aspects of medicine without a long term commitment in place and it can help them find out what specialist areas might be worth pursuing in the future once the finish as a locum. Finding a good locum doesn’t have to be hard. Medical recruitment agencies such as Best Practice Medical are experts in aligning highly skilled locum doctors with the right practices.  Contact us today on 1300 27 65 28 to see how we can help make your search for a skilled locum Doctor a seamless, stress free experience.

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