Top tips for locums
By: Daniel Harrison-Pinder 25th August 2016

Top Tips for Locums: Getting up to Speed Fast

There are various professions in which a person may choose to work as a locum employee – either temporarily or for a longer period – and many reasons why it can be an ideal option. It might be a stopgap while you wait for the perfect permanent post, a way of allowing you to work fewer hours while you are studying or caring for family members, or a great way to build up your CV. Whatever the reason, it’s likely to be less stressful and more enjoyable if you can hit the ground running.

Here are six top tips for getting up to speed fast…

1. Know What You’re Getting Into

Before you even take your first job as a locum, you need to do some preparation to ensure you get the most out of it. First, calculate your personal survival budget so you know how much you need to earn to cover the essentials. You should also make sure you always know what you’re due to be paid and when you’ll receive it, not forgetting to take into account any relevant expenses and deductions (for example, travelling costs and agency fees). Be easily contactable so that if work is available you will have a shot at it; but be clear about what shifts you can or are prepared to work. This has to fit in with your current or planned lifestyle.

2. Pick Something You Like and Are Good At

You want to succeed and to be invited back, and you also want your work to be enjoyable, so pick something you like and are good at. Also, before you accept a post, research the organisation. Check out their website and any other information available – via the Internet, your network, or any other sources – to be sure they are all they seem, or claim, to be. At Seven, our recruitment consultants will have already done that work for you, but that isn’t always the case with other agencies.

3. Make Sure You Know the Basics

Most places will give you basic induction training; if they don’t, then you need to make sure you get the information you need in other ways. That might mean going in early to talk to people or read through whatever procedural manuals or guides are available. You’ll also need to be able to use the computer system. Be absolutely clear about who can sign your timesheets and how they should be submitted. The last thing you want is for your income to be disrupted because the wrong person’s signature is on the sheet.

4. Be Realistic About How Much You Can Take On

When you aren’t necessarily paid for sickness and holidays, it can be tempting to load up your schedule in order to get money in the bank for some downtime – especially in the run-up to your summer holiday, for example. While that might seem like a good idea, bear in mind that you need time to rest and unwind, so don’t pack a week full of back-to-back shifts that will wear you out.

5. Keep Up-to-Date Professionally

When you aren’t a permanent employee, it can be difficult to keep up-to-date with relevant industry news and trends, so you need to build in some sort of system to ensure you stay informed, whether that’s subscribing to a relevant trade magazine or signing up for an online newsletter. You should also take steps to make sure any required professional accreditation or compliance is kept in order. Plan for this before you start, so you don’t get caught out.

6. Register with an Agency that Has Your Best Interests at Heart

One of the ways in which you can make sure you get good, suitable jobs, regular work and are paid promptly is to register with a reliable and reputable agency. A good agency will ensure candidates are placed in the most suitable roles possible, and take a lot of the grunt work out of staying in paid work.

At Seven, our industry-leading software solutions – PayTech, Safeguarding First and Smart Search – will ensure you’re placed in locum roles that perfectly match your skills and requirements, while taking the stress away from administrative tasks, freeing you to concentrate on doing the job you love!

To find out more about our current locum opportunities in social care, nursing, healthcare and criminal justice, please browse our jobs pages or get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.