I have been doing locums for over 10 years, and a lot of physicians want to know my secrets. They want to know how I can consistently find stable work as a locums doctor.
The key to being successful as a locums physician, the key to finding consistent work, lies in a simple three-part strategy which I call the Go-Work-Do approach.
- Go. Go the places no one else wants to go, or shall I say, go the places other physicians are reluctant to go. Remember, there is a severe physician shortage. This shortage is magnified in places that are underpopulated. Therefore, these underserved/underpopulated places have a high demand for locums physicians. These places are nice places to work, the health care organizations just have a hard time recruiting and retaining physicians simply because of the location. If you are willing to travel to these places, you can essentially guarantee that you will have a steady stream of locums work. Here’s this kicker. This doesn’t mean you have to hop on a plane and fly half-way across the country. Many underserved areas are as close to 30 to 60 mins from where we live. Most of us live in urban/suburban communities. A simple thirty-minute drive out of town or into the city may put you in an underserved community that needs your services as a locums doctor. Be willing to go.
- Work. Work the shifts no one else wants to work. Be willing to work nights, weekends, and holidays. I have been working the night shift on my current locums assignment for the past year. Yep, you read that right. I have been on my current locums assignment for one whole year! The reason I have been blessed to be here for so long is because I work the night shift. The fact that the other doctors don’t want to work nights means there are usually shifts available for me to work. Remember this, if they didn’t have problems filling all the shifts, they would need you to fill any of the shifts. Be willing to work.
- Do. Be willing to do the work other physicians are reluctant to do. For example, a friend of mine is a family medicine physician and she has found success doing locums in a correctional facility. She had never worked in a prison before this locums assignment. However, because she was willing to do this type of work, she has found her niche and is really enjoying herself. Another example of this is tele-medicine. A lot of physicians are unfamiliar with tele-medicine and are unwilling to do tele-medicine work. Several years ago, I took a locums assignment as a tele-intensivist despite having no experience with tele-medicine. Now, as a result in the increasing demand for tele-medicine physicians, I can work as a tele-intensivist on a regular basis. Because I was willing to do this kind of work, I am able to consistently DO this kind of work. Just Do It.
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