Doctor, Locum Passport, Nurse, Opinion piece, Pharmacist, Self development

3 skills fundamental to being a good Locum

Locum Passport

This blog is about the skils that make locuming enjoyable and fruitful. It was written by the team at the Locum Passport. Contact us at:

So, the Christmas period has come and gone and now we all look forward to setting our goals for 2018. For some, it’ll be to have a more flexible working schedule, while for others, the goals will be based on financial or reputation aspirations. In any case, many healthcare professionals will have already made the decision to start locuming to help fulfil their ambition. Whether you are thinking about locuming or you’ve already started, this post will explain the key skills that are important for any Locum to possess:

Inter-personal Skills

Patience is a virtue and for Locums, it’s a skill that must be learned. The reason? Because joining agencies, being placed, receiving a confirmation, it all takes time. It may be that you’re delayed because there’s a lot of information for you to gather in order to be declared fit to work and placable. Sometimes, it's the agencies that are slow to process you and your availability. Either way, it affects your take-home pay and as patience is a skill that only rarely ever mastered, I suggest you do the next best thing – Prepare. While it can be difficult to find patience when it’s affecting your financial situation, it is much easy to prepare by joining agencies long before you plan to work with them. Be declared fit and compliant in advance, meaning the agency will work quickly to get you placed. while you still have the security of your current role. Joining early also gives you loads of great benefits such as being able to do some weekend work, get comfortable with your agency consultant and also with the different aspects of locum work.

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You are a clinical member of staff. Whether you’re a locum or not, your clinical ability needs to be in line with the responsibilities and requirements of your role and in either case, striving for clinical excellence is the way to enhancing your career. Many people think locuming is an easier way of getting through working for the NHS. And in some respects that’s true. Except for when it comes to the clinical aspect of the role. As a locum, any decision you make may be subjected to the scrutiny of legal proceedings without the support of the trust you were working in. You’ll be expected to do your best in the role and commit to the department for your duration there.
While locuming you’ll meet so many new people, department-loads in fact! and with every change of faces comes challenges and rewards. It’s not always easy to integrate into new teams but it is possible. Be yourself, be approachable and be confident. There’s no harm in making new friends on your journey as a locum and you never know when a familiar face might bump into you again. If you are having difficulty integrating it’s not the end of the world, ask yourself what the challenges are for you and if there’s anything you can do to reduce them. If you can’t, then that’s ok, you can continue to work there if you feel comfortable and if you don’t, you’re a locum – ask to see other opportunities and begin to plan your next move. 

  • Interpersonal skills are key to integreating quickly into new teams

Clinical Skills and Interpersonal Skills are what accelerate you up the ladder from newly qualified locum to All-star candidate. Your patience, however, is what allows any of this to be possible in the first place. We'd love to know what  essential skills you think are required to be a great Locum? Do you have more business skills then employed pharmacist? How do you keep your mind on clinical tasks?

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