Managing the Risks of Locum Work 

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From increased flexibility in work schedule to travel opportunities, the numerous benefits of locum work are well documented. There are, however, a couple of significant risks to be aware of when undertaking locum work. In this article, we will discuss these risks, what they mean and how to best avoid them.  

Lack of Information 

When working as a locum doctor, a lack of information in new surroundings can really hinder a doctor’s chance of having a successful locum stint. When starting a new locum assignment, we strongly advise gathering as much information as possible before your first assignment. Subsequently, the following shifts begin. If a practice or hospital provide you with an information pack, read it as soon as possible.  

This is particularly important for locums as they are usually expected to cover short term absences and as a result, are usually required to out of hours. The more up to date information a doctor has, the better informed he or she is to make the best clinical decisions. Remember, if you don’t ask the question, you dont get the answer, so if you are ever unsure of anything, do not hesitate to ask whoever you report to.  

The Uncertainty of Locum Work 

One of the aspects of locum work that is inescapable is the fact it can be fleeting and unpredictable. Because many locum assignments are short term, things like relationship building and reputations are critical for your locum future to thrive.   

Since it can be such an uncertain way to work, it is imperative you make every post a winner. This attitude is the best way to ensure you avoid the perceived instability that locum work can sometimes represent.  

Maintaining Relationships with Hospitals and Agencies 

Following on from the last point, again relationships are critical in the success of a locum assignment and future roles. By ensuring relationships are strong with both your hospital and agency, you are making sure that your reputation is intact. Also, you are still highly employable moving forward in the locum space.  

Unrealistic Expectations 

Setting appropriate expectations is one aspect of locum work that is mainly up to the agency. However, the onus is still on the doctor to ensure they are getting what they expect out of a locum assignment. Clear communication with your agency is the best way to avoid this happening. By voicing your concerns or wishes as soon as possible so your agency can deliver the best options for your locuming future. 

Inadequate Handovers

Handovers in a locum assignment is another key component in a successful stint. Having inadequate handover in new surroundings can cause a lot of unnecessary headaches. To avoid this, ensure your handover is thorough and relevant while making sure any burning questions are answered to ensure you begin your role well prepared and raring to go. 

Closing Thoughts 

When working as a locum doctor, there are many benefits and several risks to consider. Discussed here were just some of the core risks and the simple ways to avoid them. That’ll make your locum life a whole lot sweeter. If you’d like to discuss some of the issues in this article or discuss the available locum work around Australia and New Zealand, contact the Triple0 team today. 


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