Having joined the Your World Dublin office in January 2016 I have really enjoyed working alongside and integrating with the team. I am learning so much about the role from my colleagues but also feel that I am now in the position to shed some guidance for healthcare professionals looking to attain their first locum role.
Read my top ten tips below and see whether they can be of any help to you!
· Do your Research: It is recommended to do some research about the facility you’ll be working in. If it’s a hospital, find out what ward you’ll be in and do some further research on the hospital. If it’s a psychiatric hospital, find out if it’s an intensive psychiatric care unit you’ll be working in. You could also find out the level of violence and aggression in the wards before going out to work so you know what you’ll be up against. Doing a research could be perceived as preparation which leads to the second point.
· Be Prepared: For your first assignment, make sure you have all the necessary details. For example; Hospital address, contact number, confirmation assignment dates, time and working hours. Be aware of your pay rates. Make sure you have your timesheets and they are signed and authorised by the ward manager. It is always important to have your ID badge so the client knows what Nursing agency you work for and what your position/role is.
· Training: It is vital to have all required training certs before going out to work. It is crucial to be up to date with continuous professional development. This increases your chance of getting work. Training can be undertaken with any company as long as they are in date.
There are mandatory online courses like Fire safety, Hand hygiene/Infection control, mental capacity act, RIDDOR, Medication management, Health & Safety, information governance and Lone worker. You could also be eligible to get discount trainings for refresher courses.
· Be Flexible and Compliant: As a locum professional, flexibility is essential. It will help your consultants find you work easily if they know that you will assent shifts at short notice and are willing to work weekend and bank holidays. This is an advantage to the locum practitioner as these shifts offer more pay rates. It is important to maintain compliance. Make sure annual certifications and disclosures are up to date.
· Learn to Learn: As a locum practitioner, you are working at a facility to momentarily address their staffing needs. It is a place where you get the opportunity to learn new nursing skills and improve on already acquired skills. Make use of the opportunity to make new friends, e.g nurses that have been in Nursing for a longer period of time, meet potential employers and leave a good impression so the clients could request specifically for you in the future.
The new skills you learn and improve on could be of great effect to your resume. It is a great way to broaden your horizons.
· Meet People: Make use of the opportunity to make new friends as you’ll be working in different hospitals, community day centres, nursing homes et al. It could be a chance for you to meet with potential employers if you were to go back into full time work or advance in your career. As you make friends with other healthcare professionals, you could also learn a thing or two that you were completely oblivious to.
· Back Up plan - Be covered: It is imperative to look into joining a professional organisation or union. The Nursing organisation is the voice for Nurses and midwives, representing nurses and promoting excellence in practice. Today, the quantity of actions brought against healthcare professionals are rapidly increasing; membership of a nursing union would be an advantage, especially in litigious cases. The Nursing union represents the professional interests of nursing staff, either working in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
· Tax and Employment status: As a locum nurse, you have more control over your earnings. You can start off working through an umbrella company and change to operating as a limited company in order to maximise your earnings and benefit from the tax planning opportunities.
· Know your Entitlements: Locum nurses do not receive holidays as their working hours vary. However, you are entitled to holiday pay depending on how many hours you have accumulated over a period of time. You can put this in writing and send to your consultant who will advocate for you.
I hope you have found this of help to you. If you have any further enquiries regarding any of the above tips, or would like further guidance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01531 2888