Locum Etiquette: Getting it Right

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A lot of the time, locum work can feel like a thankless task as you attempt to immerse yourself into a working environment for a limited period. However, the old saying “a little goes a long way” has never been truer when it comes to how you conduct yourself during your locum assignment as a doctor.  

In this piece, we will discuss etiquette to ensure your locum assignment is a happy, productive and fulfilling experience, thus speeding up your induction and potentially opening the door to more exciting locum opportunities in the future. 

Introduce Yourself

It may seem obvious, but when you arrive at your new hospital, it is easy to get so caught up in the new systems and patients that you forget the importance of making a good first impression on the team. Make the conscious effort to be friendly and introduce yourself to as many colleagues as possible, but particularly the person you report to, the senior nurse and whoever seems to be the teams’ most social member.  

Getting familiar with important team members early on can really help get your colleagues on board with you, as well as ensure you know exactly who to speak to during the busyness of treating patients.

Take Advantage of Induction

It can be hugely beneficial to get a full one-on-one induction before you start work, so you can see where everything is. Even if you have performed the same role in many hospitals before, there are always a few nuances that you won’t know automatically, such as software used or the layout of wards 

No matter how eager you may be to get underway, induction is a process that should not be rushed through – take your time to get your head around the new environment, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and be sure to show enthusiasm and gratitude for the person’s time. This will allow you to both feel more at ease in your surroundings and get to know your colleagues better.  

Be Kind and Thoughtful

While we don’t advise you to be disingenuous or suck up to every colleague you meet during your time, a little bit of kindness can go a long way towards building positive relationships. Something as simple as buying a round of coffee or helping a nurse lift a patient can endear you to others and ensure you are remembered long after the assignment ends 

Treat Medical Admin Well

The influence medical admin staff have in hospitals cannot be understated they can often be the make or break factor during your time at the hospital. So, staying in their good graces is critical in ensuring your good reputation as a locum doctor spreads like wildfire throughout the hospital, thus heightening the chances of a successful assignment. When dealing with these team members, always be polite, patient and professional, and make an effort to treat them like human beings through small gestures such as asking about their day.

Closing Thoughts

While some of these tips may seem obvious and straight forward, too often in short term locum assignments, they can be overlooked due to the fleeting nature of the working arrangement. However, the medical world is a small one, with both good and bad reputations spreading easily. A little effort and practicing good etiquette for locums can go a long way.  

If you’re interested in learning more about locum work in Australia or New Zealand, contact the Triple0 Medical Recruitment team today.  

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