Have you got what it takes to be a great Locum Doctor?
With Australia’s medical system increasingly reliant on skilled Locum Doctors, we have a wealth of interesting and rewarding locum jobs currently available at Wavelength. But it takes a special type of Doctor to take up locum work. Have you got what it takes? We’ve put together our top five questions to help you find out.
1) Do you love meeting new people?
With many locum contracts lasting only a few days or weeks at the most, you need to be comfortable meeting new people. You also need to engage with the wider medical practice or hospital community to ensure your locum is a success.
Dr Irandi Jayatilleke, a Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon who is a regular Wavelength locum Doctor, offers the following advice. “Always introduce yourself to the local doctors and staff, be open and approachable and get involved with the hospital community. If you treat your locum with the respect you would afford a permanent position, people will go out of their way to help you,” she says.
2) Are you adaptable and flexible?
Whether you’re in a hospital system or private practice, adapting to new work environments and integrating with new teams quickly is also essential as a locum Doctor. You also need to be flexible as role requirements can sometimes change due to unexpected situations.
“Get yourself mentally ready for lots of interesting travel, time away from home, adapting quickly to different circumstances and working with people you've never met before,” says experienced Emergency Medicine CMO and Registrar locum Dr Ferdinand Kotzyba.
3) Are you keen to use a wide range of skills?
As a locum Doctor, you’re also expected to be able to practice a diverse range of medical skills. In fact, locum work is great at reconnecting you with the front-line medical skills you used to enjoy when you started your career.
Physician David Henderson has completed over 50 locums in both regional and remote locations and has found the whole experience extremely rewarding.
“As a locum Doctor, you will almost certainly have to treat very sick patients, either in the Emergency Department or under your care. Most remote hospitals don’t have the facilities or collegial support that you may be used to, so some knowledge of acute care medicine is essential,” he says.
Locum GP Dr Farid Razzaghi agrees and recommends updating your ER skills if you’re considering remote locum work. “I would recommend you start attending a few emergency courses to update your airway skills and initial trauma and life support management. Work a couple of shifts per week in your local emergency department and just get stuck into it,” he says.
4) Are you ready for an adventure?
If you’re open to exploring new locations, a locum role in a regional or remote area offers a whole world of new adventures. And some of our best roles are found in areas least expected. For Paediatrician and Clinical Director, Dr Andrew Gardiner, Queensland is his preferred locum location.
And his most interesting locum job to date?
“I would have to say Rockhampton, with its amazing variety of clinical workload, significant local capacity for dealing with more complex patients and great colleagues. The town is dripping with great colonial architecture. Oh, and they have crocodiles in the river. I had a patient whose rowing team lost the end of an oar to a crocodile in the Fitzroy. And they still row there!” he says.
“Outlying medical clinics in indigenous communities also provide a very emotionally rewarding experience.”
5) Do you want to make a real difference?
And finally, the very nature of locum work means you’re providing an essential service. Without locum Doctors, many regional and rural communities would be without adequate medical care. You will be making a positive impact on everyday lives and supporting a service that’s in real need.
For Dr Razzaghi, working in remote locations has been challenging, but ultimately rewarding. “There’s a great feeling of satisfaction when you manage to assist a patient with limited resources and everyone is so happy with the outcome. You feel like a real Doctor using basic skills to deal with some complicated cases,” he says.