People often wonder why healthcare professionals move into locum work – and it’s a good question. Locuming can involve a significant amount of travel, and whilst that’s a plus point for some, others instinctively see it as an inconvenience. But is the decision to locum or not to locum purely founded on a liking for, or an objection to, travel? Well, there are actually a lot more reasons behind the decision to locum than there may appear at first glance. Here are ten of them. And if you’re one of the many locums who would absolutely not consider going back to static employment, you may even be able to think of a few more…
Career prospects. We touched on this subject in the Career Advancement for Pharmacists post, and it’s one of the most compelling reasons why locums in some healthcare professions might make the shift away from a static role. Impressing more people is undeniably a route to increasing prospects, and locums get the opportunity to impress far more people.
Choice. For good locums, who are able to build themselves a great reputation, choice is one of the most valuable attributes of locum life. It should be stressed that the level of demand and competition in the locum’s area of operation can have a major impact on choice, and it’s wise to check what the demand is before diving into locum work. A reputable agency such as Team Locum will always give enquirers an honest impression of the overall work situation for a given profession and region. If you’re intending to work as a pharmacist or optometrist in the UK, you can find out more via the contact details below…
By and large, though, professional locums with a highly accommodating attitude are likely to find themselves in demand, and that affords them the luxury of choice. The choice to fit work around their lives, and not vice versa. The choice to avoid the things they’d rather avoid.
Choice is a wonderful thing. A locum has to be good to build it, and it doesn’t come within 24 hours. But it’s an aspirational property of locuming, which simply doesn’t exist within a static employment.
Job security: eggs in many baskets. It might, at first thought, seem odd to associate locum work with job security. Employment for a locum does, after all, depend entirely on establishments being short of staff. However, hiring locums is a very sound economical policy for businesses, and that means static employment can be much more vulnerable to adversity than the classic locum situation. The picture conforms to the “eggs and baskets” rule.
With all eggs in one basket, a lost basket means major upheaval. But with eggs distributed into fifty baskets, a lost basket has very little impact – if any at all. In other words, a pharmacist becoming redundant in a static role faces a crisis. A pharmacist becoming redundant in one of fifty establishments she or he visits as a locum, can probably compensate and write off the issue almost instantly.
It’s the build-up of options that gives a good locum such power.
The effect of variety on emotional state. It’s easy to underestimate how much day-to-day change figures in our happiness, because we tend to attribute emotional ups and downs to very specific, individual events. But variety is truly the spice of life. A lifestyle that always promises something new can have an extremely positive effect on personal happiness, and with locum work, there’s something new around every corner.
Richer future memories. We spend a huge proportion of our lives working, and if that chunk of our lives lacks variety, not only can we come to feel jaded in the moment – we may also be compromising the richness of our future memory-base. The old cliché about us eventually having lots of stories to tell our grandchildren comes directly out of our desire to reflect on the variety and interest we’ve built through the course of our lives. Is a static employment role, in one place, going to generate as much “life story” as locum work? Some would insist not.
The bother bypass. In static employment situations, persistent frictions can be very difficult to cast aside. Maybe there’s an ongoing dispute or personality clash between colleagues, or perhaps a new condition of employment is not to everyone’s satisfaction…. Well, locums can gain immunity to this sort of longstanding, employment-related issue. With work distributed around a wide range of establishments, individual issues are in any case not as likely to figure so heavily in the overall picture. But if unresolvable headaches do become more of a burden, a locum with a good reputation and choice can engineer their timetable to avoid them. It can also be calming simply to know that this sort of career control exists – even if it doesn’t need to be exercised.
Industry Profile. Over time, locum work can build a strong industry profile for a healthcare professional. As we’ve already seen, this is useful for developing career prospects. But it’s also a gateway to social or business connections, which can ultimately become the foundation for exciting leisure activities or commercial projects. The value of being connected proves enormous to some people. This factor alone can drive the desire to become a locum.
Pay. Some members of the healthcare professions make the transition into locum work for financial reasons. Payment rates vary enormously in some fields, so it would be wrong to suggest that financial motivations were a well-founded impetus for everyone. A financially-motivated switch to locum work makes a lot of sense for some, but not so much for others. Payment rates vary according to a wide range of factors, including regional and seasonal trends. But it’s really all down to supply and demand, versus the means and/or policies of the businesses hiring the locums. For health workers who’ve studied the market, can provide a great service and are able and qualified to adapt to the widest range of situations, there may well be a valid financial impetus behind the decision to become a locum.
Experience. Experience translates not only into increased career prospects – it’s also about comfort. With experience, one can deal with a wider range of unexpected situations, and that brings peace of mind, as well as the rewarding sense which comes with being the person everyone trusts to be the guiding hand.
Immediate start. For someone who’s not currently in work, locum agencies can provide a very quick recruitment process, followed by immediate work, which may well prove invaluable to those who don’t have the time to hang around. For a health worker between jobs, locum work can fill a period of potential inactivity, and it may just prove so enjoyable that a permanent position is no longer desired.
HOW DO I START LOCUMING?
A reputable locum agency can quickly identify locums with great prospects, and will have a large client base collectively requiring locums in high volume across the regions. Team Locum currently specialises in pharmacy and optometry, and is additionally moving into new areas, so feel free to get in touch, or keep an eye on the Blog Homepage and the Website Homepage for the latest news.