The what, where, how and why of becoming a locum doctor.
What is “locuming”
A locum is someone that temporarily fills a role. It’s usually an area of need that is understaffed. The contracts are casual and often for shorter periods of time. Though you can get open ended casual contracts as well.
Where do I do it?
The beauty of locum work is the ability to work from almost anywhere you choose. If you want to leave Sydney for a coastal job in Western Australia, you can. If you fancy a stint in Tasmania, no problem! The world is your oyster.
The medical area in which you can work is also varied! It’s not just Emergency Medicine (though there are a large amount of roles in this specialty). Think research, public health, vaccination centres, rural, and many different specialties!
How do I become a locum?
The number one question I get is how to do it (and if it’s hard to set up). In Australia, it’s very straight forward.
- Pick an agency & sign up
- Paper work! (this is the most tedious bit)
- Gather your references
- Choose a job that works for you
- Email the hospital you’d like to work at & ask if there are any casual roles available
- Send your CV
- Negotiate your contract
- Paperwork! (again)
Which agency do I choose?
This is a personal choice, but don’t feel restricted to one company. There are SO SO many that exist. Sign up to a few to broaden your options.
Blugibbon is great for a boutique feel and for those wanting to travel.
Medrecruit is the largest recruiting agency in Australia, they are very proactive with getting you work that you want.
Paperwork & references – how to?
This is the most tedious part, but guaranteed you will have almost all of the paperwork needed already. The agencies are there to assist you in all the paperwork needs too, often assigning you a specialist for that in itself.
It’s a one time slog of paperwork and references, then you’re set. The references are called by the agency once at the start to verify you. The paperwork is similar.
You’ll need your medical degree, ID/proof of citizenship/visa, medical indemnity, immunisation records, and medical registration number. Most need to be signed by a Justice of the Peace (the agencies often have someone that can help facilitate this).
Try not to stress, your agency will send an extensive list of what you need.
Why do it?
There are so many reasons why. Maybe you’re looking for a break, to search for other options, to travel, or earn more funds.
Perks of living la vida locum
- Increased flexibility
- Freedom of time
- Ability to travel
- Better pay
- Exploring other options – I found my clinical research job through locuming!
- Be in control of your work life
So are you ready to launch into the world of being a locum? Maybe give it a try. Taking control of your work life can leave you feeling empowered and energised for the next step.