Furthering your career as a locum
Career development as a locum can often be a bit of a challenge. Progression in any part of one's life gives you a much-needed boost, whether it be mentally, physically or financially and there’s no reason that a locum can’t use the hours spent on the job to further their own development.
As a locum, you’ve probably been told that career progression is very limited as you’ll be required to perform a very specific set of responsibilities based on your current banding. Many locums often fall into the trap of working in the same role for much of their careers, unaware of the skills, experience and networks they obtain along the way.
Compare yourself to a banded professional and you’ll quickly see the advantages of your time spent working in different environments compared to working in the same one for any length of time. You will have undoubtedly become proficient in more than one IT system, you’ll be able to integrate well into any team and you’ll also have the vital experience of being adaptable to any environment that you’ve entered.
For any locums that are eager to make the step up, you should consider what you’ve learnt throughout your placements and how you can emphasise their advantages. This can be difficult for those who work hard and become an integral part of the workforce as we often forget our self-development in the interest of the development of the team.
If you’re interested in making the step up here’s what the Locum Passport suggest you keep in mind.
- When you start a new role state your ambition and desire for responsibilities of those above you. Make your management team aware that you want to learn and develop as a pharmacist while also providing the services that you are contractually obligated to. By stating this at the beginning of a placement, you set a tone that shows your willingness to learn and step up to the plate, should you need to.
- Keep a track of your day to day responsibilities and note down any instances where you feel you have worked above and beyond your banded colleagues. This may include extended shifts, unsociable hours or even an increased level of clinical care. These can all be used to highlight your commitment to providing high levels of patient care - something that is highly regarded by interview panels.
- Note down every IT clinical application you have used while locuming. Mastery of these will show you are able to pick up new things quickly, adapt your working practices and integrate well in any setting. With IT playing a bigger and bigger role within healthcare, your IT skills will be a major differentiating factor between you and competitors for roles.
- Everybody looks for a candidate who is able to integrate well into a team and with your experience of working in different settings, use your placements as evidence for this. Highlight roles where you have integrated particularly well and if possible, highlight all the settings that have wanted to extend your contract as another great piece of evidence.
- References are key pieces of evidence that reassure prospective settings that are considering you for a higher role. Whenever you can, ask your peers, manager and those you work closely alongside you to endorse skills that they have seen you perform. From professionalism to clinical aptitude, make sure you have a reference that can support any particular aspect of your next application.
You may think that locuming is a short-term gain and a long-term penalty but by following the rules set out above, you’ll be able to turn those perceived weaknesses into great strengths. Be sure to find an agency that will support you with making the transition to the next level. This includes having a good rapport with your consultant, as well as, ensuring that they are able to place you as you begin to specialise more.
Do you have any tips for progressing as a locum? Have you been through this process before? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!