One of the biggest sources of frustration for locums doctors is scheduling their assignments. Finding new assignments, working current assignments, and keeping up with everything in between can be quite daunting. However, if you remember these four things, you can simplify the process.
- “A bird in the hand”…… There is an old saying that goes “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” This means that you don’t turn down a current assignment for a future assignment. You don’t turn down a stable assignment for a potential assignment. As a locums doctor, you will get phone calls from recruiters everyday regarding new assignments. If it seems like the assignment will be a good fit for you and you are interested, the recruiter will ask you to provide the dates you are available to work. However, until you have gone through the entire process and have an actual confirmation letter, then you don’t have an assignment. If another opportunity to work on those dates arises, don’t pass it up.
- “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Clients can be finicky. One day the client needs you and the next day they don’t. Literally. Because that 6-month locums assignment you were counting on can be cancelled essentially at any time, it is imperative that you always have a backup plan. You need to have another assignment you can work to make sure you will always have an income. The best way to ensure this is to work multiple assignments with multiple locums companies. That way if one assignment is cancelled, you have other assignments you can work.
- “There is a time and a season for everything”. Locums work is no different. The demand for locums physicians is greatest during the holiday season and the summer. These are the times in which physicians take vacation. In fact, I call the summertime, the “summer locums season”. I tend to take advantage of all the extra opportunities that are available during this time. Just as there is a “high season” for locums, there is an off season. In my experience, the demand for locums doctors tends to slow down during the spring. Therefore, I take advantage of the spring time lull in order to rest up and get geared up for the extra work I do in the summer months.
- “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. As a locums physician, planning is everything. You must meticulously plan your schedule. If you don’t, you will find yourself without work when your locums assignment come to an end. You need to plan your schedule at least 3 months in advance. You also need to constantly look for new assignments and be in the process of getting credentialed for possible assignments. That way when new assignments become available you are ready to work them and there are no interruptions in your income.
If you remember these four things, you will streamline your scheduling process and ensure that you have plenty of work to do.