We know that these are challenging and unsettling times. We are all in uncharted territory, especially those of you who are working on the front lines in healthcare. As a locum tenens physician, you probably have a lot of questions surrounding how this crisis is going to affect your current and upcoming contracts. Here is a breakdown of some questions about locum tenens and COVID-19, and the best answers we can give you at the moment.
Locum Tenens and COVID-19 | FAQs
What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 while under contract?
If you test positive while you are under contract, you will first and foremost have to follow medical advice and procedure. The most important thing is that you and those around you remain safe. Next, let your agency know immediately that this has happened. Most are putting policies into place that will cover how you’ll be paid during this time and what will happen with your contract thereafter.
Will I need additional paperwork to start a new contract?
Some facilities may have you fill out paperwork, where they’ll ask about your recent travel history, health, and interactions. You might also have to get tested for COVID-19 before you can start your contract. You’ll want to work with your agency and the hospital to determine what’s required of you.
What changes in shift protocol should I expect?
Health Care Professionals are implementing source control for everyone entering a healthcare facility. This includes all personnel, patients, and visitors. This protocol is, “to help prevent spread of symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”
Do cloth face coverings adequately protect healthcare personnel?
“Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment,” according to the CDC. Cloth covering’s capability to protect healthcare personnel is unknown. Facemasks, if available, should be reserved for Healthcare Professionals.” Although they are considered appropriate for a visitor and patients. Only if supplies are available should facemasks be used as source control for visitors or patients who do not have them.
Is there an accelerated process for getting licensed in different states right now?
There has been talk of letting physicians across state lines to work without having to go through all of the red tape. Since things seem to change by the minute these days, you can keep an eye out for those regulations here – or of course, check with your agency. Each state has different regulations.
Will this affect my pay rates?
Right now, travel healthcare workers across the country are seeing higher pay rates to work in locations that are deemed crisis areas. If you have the desire to travel to a crisis area and help out, you can check out a list of the employers that we partner with and see what rates and positions that they have available for locum tenens physicians. Keep in mind that you can also find locum tenens positions as a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant too.
How can I protect myself?
The first thing that you should do is study the information available for you by the federal government. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of information available for healthcare providers. Aside from that, work closely with the people in charge where you are working so that you are familiar with the hospital’s protocols. As we said, things are changing every minute, so this is something you’ll want to stay on top of so that you are protected.
Should I avoid travel right now?
If you don’t need to travel right now, you should stay home. The federal government is discouraging anyone from traveling if they do not have to do so. Now, you may have to travel from one contract to another – and in that situation, not using public transportation might not be an option for you.
How can I manage the stress of this situation while still being helpful to patients?
We know that this is a very stressful situation, especially for doctors who are working on the frontline of this pandemic. Your years of training, risky exposure to infectious disease patients and flu patients maybe gave you a taste of how to prepare for this moment. But not really. The best we can say is when you are at work, follow protocol, take deep breaths, and stay focused on the task at hand. When you are at home, take extra precautions. Go outside. Enjoy nature. Turn off the news.
Are you ready to sign up to help on the frontlines of this pandemic? To find locum tenens jobs, apply today!