So after burning the midnight oil behind encyclopedia like text books, spending back breaking hours during your internship and crossing your fingers as results are finally out, you have finally obtained your fellowship!
You are eager to start earning all that fantastic income everyone has been talking about but you are at a cross road, everyone seems to be craving for the opportunity to finally being able to settle in one location, build a good patient base and create a sustainable income.
Surely, gone are the nightmare days of running around finding a “suitable” location whilst you are undergoing an internship program or hopping from one practice to another trying to find a doctor who is willing to supervise and provide adequate training. Now is your first real chance of unsupervised work and earning all that fantastic income everyone talks about! So why are some of the best doctors in Australia swear by locum work? Some even work as full time locum consultants. Here are 5 great reasons to locum:
Think that all locum roles are fast paced roles or too slow for your liking? Think again. Choose from a fast paced role if you work a GP/ED locum shift or a more consultative approach if you work in an Aboriginal Medical Services. Mixing and matching your workload will keep your days interesting and ensure that no two shifts are the same.
Afraid that you might be left with huge gaps in between work? The truth is, there is work all over beautiful Australia as there is an intense staff shortage in both public and private health settings. This gives you plenty of options, as you can either stay near to home and find work on your doorstep, or you can use the opportunity to check out new cities at the other end of the country. Most locum roles provide accommodation and logistical arrangements, that gives you a lot of flexibility to maybe even be taking in some sightseeing during your down time. You can also have your say about whether you work ad-hoc shifts or on a more longer term basis, clocking up weeks or months in one hit. If you are hardworking and reliable, then hospitals are going to want to snap you up. Once you have worked a few placements, hospitals will bear you in mind for future shifts
The Bottom Dollar
Heard nightmare stories about locum doctors under paid for what they do? On the contrary, many locum doctors will get paid a higher rate of pay per hour than a permanent position doctor, and although you may have fears about having money coming in consistently, as long as you complete and hand in your timesheets regularly, then you shall also be paid regularly. As is the norm with locum work, it is all in your hands. If you want to ramp up your earnings one month, all you have to do is book in more shifts – your earnings are completely in your control.
Some locum doctors try and fill their calendar well ahead of time only to cancel it at the very last minute due to some urgent reasons. Don’t drag your name through the mud, by far one of the biggest advantages as a locum is you can pick both when and where you work, and not many jobs can say that. This makes taking your annual leave a breeze as you don’t have to squabble with colleagues about school holiday dates as you can plan your work to slot in around when you need or want to get away. Equally, you can pencil in your holidays for when you don’t have any work planned, meaning you stay well rested between placements.
Working across a spectrum of hospital settings will massively boost your knowledge base, giving you greater confidence when tackling new systems and processes. You will also become more confident handling yourself in new situations and being able to deliver great patient care no matter what the surroundings.
Many doctors are surprised to learn that locumming can also open other career doors, for example, providing additional training in certain areas, or even allowing you teaching opportunities to enlighten junior or student doctors as you complete ward rounds. Making the most of all of these will look great on your CV.