Tips for a Successful First Locum Tenens Assignment

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Covelo Direct
Two Healthcare Colleagues Talking on the stairs

If you’re a physician or nurse practitioner who has recently decided that locum tenens is a good fit for you, congratulations! You’re on the road to a lucrative and satisfying career path. There’s no question that locum tenens offers amazing career opportunities, along with flexibility that allows for genuine work/life balance.

To make sure your first locum tenens gig is a successful one, Covelo Direct has collected a few tips from our own employment experts.

Prepare ahead

Starting any new healthcare job requires paperwork to validate your identity, background, education, and credentials. Having scanned copies of essential documents saved in a digital file ahead of time will save time and make it easier to match you with your preferred job opportunities.

Examples of key documents include a driver’s license and/or passport, immunization records, medical diploma, board certification, and other certifications such as BLS, ACLS, or PALS. A professional headshot in both color and black and white format is helpful, as we receive requests for both.

If you have done any previous pro re nata (PRN) healthcare work in the past, copies of that credentialing paperwork would also be very helpful.

Responsiveness is crucial

Once your paperwork is in order, the process to place you in your first position moves extremely quickly. Healthcare staffing needs are urgent; in most cases, these medical centers have been understaffed for weeks or months.

“Physician responsiveness is really the key to having a successful locum tenens career,” said Michael Malo, Senior Director of Physician Services at Covelo Direct. “If you don’t move quickly or take calls or texts from your senior recruiter, you could miss out on great job opportunities.”

Punctuality counts

Our senior recruiters recommend that physicians plan to arrive at least 24 hours in advance of the first day on the job. This allows time for a “dry run” commute during rush hour, figuring out where to park, and gauging how long it will take to walk from the parking garage to the floor or office you’re expected to report.

On your first day, it’s important to show up at least a half hour early to your shift to allow time to check in with your supervisor or for any unexpected delays.

Work ethic is everything

Keep in mind that when a medical center is requesting a locum tenens physician, it is likely because it is experiencing a staffing challenge. Being short-staffed stresses everyone from upper management to physicians, nurses, and support staff. You’re a key piece to supporting your new collogues and helping the entire team operate more efficiently.

“As a locums physician, your job is to take your position seriously and hit the ground running,” said Brett Costello, Vice President of Business Development for Covelo Direct. “Listen carefully on your first day, be observant, and do your best to integrate into the unique rhythm of your new workplace.”

Remember to ask questions as needed, and take notes to record all protocols and procedures and details like computer passwords and security codes. Do your best to be of service to your healthcare team and patients from day one.

Demonstrate a positive attitude

Entering the workplace with a friendly and confident disposition can make your first week on the job that much better. Even for brief assignments, we encourage you to try to learn names and get to know your colleagues. Your new team is likely to welcome you and be excited to have someone else to share the workload and provide quality patient care.

Partnership is key

Remember that Covelo Direct provides concierge-level support – your senior recruiter is standing by to answer questions and resolve concerns throughout each assignment. Open communication in this partnership will help ensure you’re placed in positions that are a good fit for your professional goals.

Click here to schedule an introductory phone call with a Covelo Direct senior recruiter today.