How-to, Locum Passport, Locuming

Short term vs long term locum contract

Short term vs Long term contracts

So, you’re going to start Locuming but you’re unsure of the basics. One of the things that many people struggle with is knowing the duration of the contract that will suit them. Read our article below to help you make that decision.

You're probably wondering what the best contract length to take out is and, although we can’t make that decision for you, we thought we'd put together a small article on things to consider.

1. Variety is the spice of life.
Locuming attracts many people to the field and for some, it's because of the variety of roles they are able to undertake. You can quickly gain a lot of experience from locuming and if you're looking to gain as much as possible you may want to consider shorter contracts that give you the flexibility to move on to new experiences sooner rather than later.
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2. Organising locum work isn't difficult if you are on the ball.
If you've read our article on locum housekeeping, you'll know that maintaining your documents can be a hassle but it pays dividends in the long run. If you're not so good at organizing yourself, consider longer contracts - its simple. If you're on the ball with your maintenance documentation you can be agile enough to work short contracts and have the next contract already sorted for straight after.
3. If you work for longer than 12 weeks in the same role, there are some perks.
One of the most annoying things about being a locum is the sometimes unfair treatment that we seem to receive. For instance, if you're stuck in traffic and get to work late you'll lose out. However, if you take a contract that's longer than 3 months, or you work for the same hospital in the same role for 12 weeks, you will qualify for equal treatment as permanent members of staff. You can find out more here.
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4. Not sure if you'll like the role? go short and then extend.
We've all been there: a great offer has come up on the table but you're unsure about one thing; it could be the pay, the location, the environment or anything else. You've been told by the agency it's a great opportunity and if you don't like it they'll pull you out of the contract and place you elsewhere. 

While this sounds very good, at the end of the day, abruptly leaving a contract like that doesn't do your reputation any favours. You want to be seen as a hard-working, but also a reliable locum - that's how you get repeat bookings. Instead of taking that option ask to be placed on a shorter contract that you feel comfortable fulfilling. If everything goes great and you're doing a good job, extend the contract. If it doesn't go so well, you can leave but with your head held high knowing that you've fulfilled your obligations.

5. think about the reasons you started locuming.
What was your main driver for becoming a locum? More money? More flexibility? More time to travel? As you begin to locum a lot of things in your life will begin to change. From small things to your commute to larger things such as how you get paid and organise your immediate and short-term future. It's important that you keep an eye on why you started locuming when making decisions about your upcoming contracts. If you wanted flexibility, short-term contracts are the way to go, if you want more money, a long-term contract may be for you as its more time working and less time sorting out contracts. If it was to fund exciting holidays, consider planning your holiday first and working your way around it. If you want to go in summer a long-term contract over winter and a few short-term contracts over spring and summer may be just the ticket.

So, there are our 5 tips to help you decide between a long-term and short-term contract. Base your contracts on your goals and you'll find that the locum lifestyle can be rewarding and propel your development as a healthcare professional.

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