Locum tenens have become an essential asset to hospitals, physician groups, and other healthcare organizations struggling to meet healthcare staffing requirements. As physician and advanced practitioner demand increases, competition to attract quality locum tenens providers also intensifies. The goal for any healthcare employer, however, goes beyond just filling a gap. At stake is the ability to provide the best care for the patients they serve. 

High-performing, collaborative teams are not built overnight. It takes time to develop cohesiveness and trust. Thoughtfully integrating your permanent and locum tenens staff will in turn strengthen your organization's culture and overall performance. In addition, this will also increase your ability to thrive when meeting changing demands in inpatient volumes.  

Building a Cohesive Team as a Healthcare Employer.  

Communication and culture are vital for strong collaboration and cohesiveness in any medical facility. When onboarding a locum tenens provider, it is important to ensure they are both a clinical and cultural fit. Second, it is pivotal to make sure permanent and temporary staff are aligned with a common goal and overall mission. 

Before your locum tenens providers' first day, send them all of the information they will need. As an example, Medicus provides each locum tenens provider with a welcome document before their first day that includes: 

    • A picture of the healthcare facility.
    • The travel distance from their hotel.
    • The facility address and where they should park. 
    • Their first-day schedule and who they will meet.
    • Their first-day contacts, including their name and email. 
    • Nearby food selections. 

Providing information, resources, and assistance before a locum tenens start date is essential. This helps to promote a smooth experience for both temporary and permanent staff. 

10 Tips for Supporting Your Blended Team. 

Next, be sure to continue strengthening the connection between your permanent and locum tenens staff. Consider these ten suggestions to facilitate meaningful connections at your organization.  

  1. Notify permanent staff of incoming locum tenens arrival and assignment length. Share unique experiences and skillsets that the locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner will bring to the team. 
  2. Welcome locum tenens staff as members of the employed team. On their first day, it is a great idea to assign them a buddy and take them on a tour of the facility. This helps temporary providers to get oriented and familiar with the layout.  
  3. Make time for proper training. A locum tenens provider will be more confident and efficient when they are adequately trained on their responsibilities. This leads to quicker ramp-up time and enables the temporary provider to start contributing to your goals faster.  
  4. Introduce all locum tenens providers to permanent staff (including at meetings) by name. This helps temporary providers feel more integrated and included in the team.  
  5. Focus your communication on the common goal of high-quality care. This will help foster a sense of unity. 
  6. Pay attention to unintentional messaging, such as body language and nonverbals. Be sure to be consistent and equitable with both permanent and locum tenens staff. 
  7. Be intentional and inclusive with social engagement by inviting all staff. This will help build and strengthen relationships with the employed and temporary team!  
  8. Encourage attendance and participation at meetings. During the meeting, uplift your locum tenens staff’s input to help promote engagement.  
  9. Arrange a team event such as a lunch and include an icebreaker activity. Icebreakers are an awesome way to create a positive environment and promote team bonding.  
  10. Celebrate diversity at your workplace by appreciating the unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of all employees.  

If locum tenens staff are a part of your healthcare organization, we'd love to hear from you. How do you increase connectedness and engagement with permanent staff? Let us know!