There are many reasons physicians are drawn to locum tenens. Extra income, travel opportunities, and escaping burnout are just to name a few. Once you've made the leap and joined the thousands of other physicians choosing the locums life, it's time to prepare for your first assignment. After credentialing, finalizing rates, and completing licensing paperwork, you’re ready for your first locum tenens job! Here are five tips to make your days as a locums doctor run smoothly:
1. Stay organized. It may seem simple; however, leading up to your departure, your recruiter or locum tenens company will be sending you things like flight details, car rental agreements, and directions to the facility you'll be working at. You don’t want to be lost when you land, so print everything and keep it together in a folder or separate compartment of your carry-on or luggage.
2. Pack properly. Don’t worry if you’re an over-packer. We all try to squeeze one more thing in the already full suitcase. But, make sure you look at the weather ahead of time and pack the appropriate attire. While you'll most likely be wearing your regular white coat or scrubs, think ahead of what to wear when you're not at work and what the season calls for.
3. Verify the job details. Look ahead at who your person of contact is at the facility, where you need to go for orientation for your first day, and any other seemingly small but very important details. This can make the difference between having a flustered start and staying calm, cool, and collected.
4. Talk to the locals. If you're traveling far from home to a brand new city, it's ok to be a little lost at the beginning. Fortunately for you, locals know all the best hidden gem restaurants, perfect spots to relax, and best places to shop. Ask them questions about where to go and what to do. Not only is this a great way to meet people, but it will also make your time there more enjoyable.
5. Complete your timesheet. Keeping track of your hours worked is vital to making sure that you are properly compensated for your time. You will be given a time sheet and an expense report at the beginning of your assignment. Make sure to accurately fill these out each week to ensure you are paid on time and refunded for any expenses that qualify for reimbursement.