Thinking back, when is the last time you planned to do something for the first time? Maybe you were graduating medical school, purchasing a home, or becoming a parent — each event filled with excitement and a bit of nervousness! Even after the outcome being positive, you probably wondered whether you could have been a little better prepared… For those entering the locum tenens world, embarking on your first position can be similarly exciting. Here’s how to prepare for your first locum tenens assignment to really maximize your success!
Working locum tenens assignments provide an interesting take on the role of a modern medical professional. If you’re just getting into the “locum lifestyle,” it can take some adjusting at first. Still, facilities and hospital expect you to hit the ground running from day one, so preparing for your first locum tenens assignment is crucial.
It’s never too early to find your Second Locum Tenens Assignment!
Top Tips for Your First Locum Tenens Assignment
1. Cover the Logistics
Before you can even depart for an assignment, you need to verify all of the various addresses, phone numbers, and contact info you can. There are many moving parts involved with getting you from A to B and efficiently settled to start working. Ideally, you’ll want to have all of this ironed out with the help of your recruiter at least two weeks in advance. Some of the bits of information you’ll need are:
- Recruiter’s Contact Info
- Address of Housing/Hotel
- Facility Address and Phone
- Rental Car Info
- Directions from Airport
Remember, you may have a phone with all of this stored, but it is still important to have paper copies of these things. GPS units can lose service depending on where you go, so consider writing important information on a card you can keep in your wallet.
2. Review Assignment Details
Where do you go once you arrive? How do you complete time sheets? Do you need to bring your own prescription pads? These are just a few of the questions that are helpful to get answered before starting your first locum tenens assignment. You’ll want to know the exact details of when you start, what personal documentation you’ll need, and the name, title, and phone number of your contact point.
Additionally, this can mean reading up on the best practices associated with the challenges you’ll face. If you’re traveling to a new state you’ve never visited before, try to research the unique aspects associated with local patient populations. Understanding the fine details of an assignment can really help you stay confident and productive!
3. Get Comfortable with the EHR System
Although electronic health record systems are designed to keep information uniform and easily accessible, different systems do have their idiosyncrasies. Be sure to ask your recruiter to verify which EHR system you’ll be using during your assignment. Although it’s difficult to prepare for using a new system, at least you can factor this into your onboarding process and the time spent there. Although the fax machine is still alive and well throughout the medical world, EHRs are here to stay so get acquainted when you can!
4. Meet Regular Staff
During your first locum tenens assignment, it can take a bit of time to adjust to the pace of things. Even though you’re only a temporary staff member, getting to know permanently-staffed professionals is a great way to start developing your network of support. Individuals who have worked in your assignment’s facility will definitely have a better idea of the general flow of things and what you can expect. Additionally, they’ll be able to let you in on certain considerations you would have no way of knowing otherwise. Once you’re ready to move onto a new assignment, having references and contacts from the one before is an invaluable professional resource!
5. Plan Your Second Assignment
The locum lifestyle is all about maintaining a professional flow and ease from one assignment to the next. Although you may still be fully invested and engrossed in your current assignment, finding your next adventure is key. Take note of the things you enjoyed about your first assignment, things you would change, and where you may be better suited. Sharing these preferences with your recruiter will help them find you the type locum tenens assignments time and time again!
What are your tips for physicians embarking on their first locum tenens assignment? Share your experiences in the comments below!