A well-known hospital in a major metropolitan area needs a psychiatrist to fill a staffing need coming up in the future. That hospital can meet the requirement by having an HR rep call one of the staffing agencies they work with to ‘place an order’, leaving all the details to the agency. Conversely, hospital staff can be intimately involved in the hiring process. The question is, should you care about how locum psychiatry opportunities present themselves?
In a word, yes. The best working relationships are those forged between facilities that actively participate in hiring and locums who take assignments because they want them. A lack of effort by one or both can lead to a rocky relationship that does not end well.
As a locum psychiatrist, you should know that employers that make the effort to be involved in the hiring process are looking for specific things. They are not content with picking up the first person recommended by a staffing agency.
An Agency Relationship
The first thing conscientious employers look for is a psychiatrist who has a steady relationship with his or her agency. The doctor who maintains a long-term relationship is one that employers believe they can rely on. A long-term relationship is even more important when an employer is working with a staffing agency they also have a long-term relationship with.
As a locum, your best bet is to decide on the staffing agencies you want to work with and then commit to developing long-term relationships. This will certainly help improve your chances of getting the kinds of assignments you want.
A Willingness to Commit
Employers aware of the fact that they have pending staffing shortages attempt to address those needs as soon as possible. Therefore, they are preferable to locums willing to commit to assignments far in advance. Are you that kind of doctor?
For example, let us assume your current assignment expires in three weeks and will be followed by a six-month assignment in another state. After that, the door is wide open. Are you willing to commit to your next assignment right away, or do you want to wait until that six-month assignment is nearing its end? The further ahead you are willing to commit, the more attractive you will be to employers.
A Working Knowledge of the Facility
Employers always appreciate a doctor’s efforts to learn about the facilities they intend to work at. It shows a genuine interest in being part of the team, whether the doctor will be there permanently or temporarily. Locum psychiatrists would do well to put this into practice. It never hurts to take some time to research a facility prior to applying for an assignment. In fact, it can only help.
Honest and Upfront Communications
Lastly, employers are looking for locum psychiatrists who are upfront and honest in all of their communications. If a doctor is concerned about taking a heavy caseload, he or she needs to make that clear in the initial stages of application. If the psychiatrist is hoping to contribute in some way that has not been clearly spelt out during contract negotiations, that needs to be made clear.
A lack of communication is usually at the heart of most disagreements between locums and employers. As a locum yourself, do not let that be the case on any of your assignments. Be open and upfront with all of your communications, be willing to commit to assignments, and make every effort to be part of the employer’s team. You will go a long way as a locum psychiatrist by doing so.