Medicus Healthcare Solutions

Preparing for Your First Locum Tenens Assignment

Do you remember when you last planned to do something for the first time? Whether it was hiking the Grand Canyon, seeing your first patient, or purchasing a home, you probably became increasingly more excited—and at least a little nervous—as the occasion drew near. Afterward, even with a positive outcome, you may have wondered if you could have done something differently or been better prepared.

If you are getting ready for your first locum tenens opportunity, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you go into it with confidence and ease. With the assistance of a knowledgeable Medicus Healthcare Solutions recruiter and the following tips, your introduction to the “locum lifestyle” is sure to be a success.

Confirm addresses, directions, parking, and tolls

Before you leave, verify addresses for your housing/hotel as well as that of the facility or practice. You should have your recruiter’s contact information on hand, too, including a phone or cell number you can call after hours if the unexpected crops up.

Even if you fly to the assignment location, you are apt to get a rental car. Find out if there are tolls en route, where you can park your car when you report for work, and whether a vehicle permit is needed. Additionally—regardless of whether you have a GPS unit or cell phone with GPS capabilities—print out two sets of driving directions, one from home or from the airport to your accommodations and another from your temporary home to the facility, clinic, or practice. (Be sure to bring directions for the return trips, too.) If you discover your GPS maps are outdated, lose a signal, or experience device malfunctions, you will have a backup.

Check assignment details

Who should you report to upon arrival? What is the process for completing time sheets? Should you bring your prescription pads? Prior to setting off for your first locum tenens job, make sure you have all the essential information, from the time you are expected to start to the name, title, and phone number of your contact person at the facility or practice. What’s more, verify whether you need to provide copies of important documents—such as your license, CV, or certifications—when you arrive.

Ask questions

Although you will have an orientation, the process varies from one assignment to the next. It could be a few days or a quick overview, and your contract duration will certainly be a factor. Regardless, your orientation may not provide all the answers you need, so be prepared to ask questions. For example, do you know how much time you should allot for each patient? What should you know about lab or coding procedures? When are you expected to take your lunch break? Who should you see if more questions arise? Make a mental note or create a physical checklist for a tangible point of reference. Whenever new questions pop up, add them to your list.

Learn about the electronic health record (EHR) system

Ask your recruiter to verify which EHR system you will be using and what you can expect in terms of on-site training. Is it one you know or will you be learning something new? Many systems share similarities, but knowing beforehand which EHR you will be using gives you a chance to learn more about it and the subtle nuances you are bound to encounter.

Get acquainted with the regular staff

Permanent staff members are a great resource and can help you better acclimate to a new setting. Be sure to introduce yourself to everyone—including administrative professionals, nurses, and fellow clinicians—and let them know you are pleased to be on assignment at their facility or practice. Also tell them how much you appreciate their help whenever they provide assistance.

Contemplate your next adventure

By the end of your initial locum tenens assignment, you will likely have opportunities to savor more firsts, from different practice approaches to popular local fare. Enjoy what will hopefully be the start of many locum tenens experiences and begin to think about where you would like to go next!