This article is written by April Han. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. With a formal education in Business Administration and years of working with healthcare startups under her belt, she is able to provide valuable advice to aspiring locums in terms of creativity, innovation, and discovery of solutions to the challenges amid our society’s growing demand for health services. A life-long learner with a growth mindset, she is currently expanding her knowledge of the healthcare marketplace through online courses and hands-on training from world-class mentors.
The feeling of isolation and being overwhelmed by the heaviness of responsibilities are just a couple of reasons it’s hard to survive as a new locum GP. So, what should you do to keep yourself from sweating bullets as you start your independent practice?
In this article, we’re going to help you make your life as a new locum GP pleasant and rewarding. This guide contains the information you need to become more confident in your daily work and the steps to take to build your portfolio. Here's how to survive as a new locum GP!
Preparing Your Documents
The Singapore Medical Council requires all medical practitioners to register with them. As a new locum GP, you need to carry a Practicing Certificate before you can practice medicine in Singapore. Apart from this, there are other documents that you need to prepare when you start booking contracts.
• A professional-looking CV
• A certificate that confirms your completion of an approved training program
• Certificate of lack of a criminal record
• Medical Indemnity certificate
• Proof of Hepatitis B status
• Passport or photo ID
• Financial papers
There are several ways you can find clients. The good news is that there are many institutions in Singapore looking for people who can fill the gaps in their workforce.
The easiest way is to find your own work. This way, you set your own rate and do all the admin work, including your taxes. Everything you earn goes into your own pocket. It can be a little overwhelming at the start, but once you’ve done several bookings, you’ll find it very rewarding.
Others prefer working with a locum agency as it is the quickest way to get work. You will, however, need to pay the agency some fee and there’s a bigger chance you’ll be required to travel.
Negotiating Your Rates
Now that you have decided to go independent, your earnings as a new locum GP should be able to cover all your tax and financial concerns including your medical expenses, your own business costs, holiday and sick leaves, and the maintenance of your medical supplies.
You need to keep these in mind when negotiating your fees, but you also must consider supply and demand. What you need to prioritize is being able to get some work. From there, you can decide if you’re comfortable doing that work at that rate. Once you’ve established a good reputation, you will find that many clients pay more for locums they already trust.
Wondered about becoming a locum doctor? Continuing your career as a locum offers flexibility, freedom, and control over your work-life balance. Click below to register as a locum GP or call us at 6258 6683 for any enquiries.
Preparing Your Doctor’s Bag
As a new locum GP, you need to be able to get your work done efficiently. That’s impossible if you don’t have the right equipment at hand. It is important to appropriately stock your doctor’s bag. This makes sure you can work safely and with enough confidence knowing that you don’t need to rely on others to provide what you need.
Here’s a list of essentials you should have in your doctor’s bag:
• Pulse oximeter
• Infrared thermometer
• Tape measure
• Small torch
• Reflex hammer
• Peak flow meter
• Tongue depressors
• Specimen bottles and swabs
• Alcohol wipes
• Lubricating jelly
• Reagent Strips
• Urine pregnancy texts
• Blood-taking equipment
• Desk aids
Handling Your IT Training
Singapore is one of the most tech-savvy countries in the world. The Singapore Medical Association aims to leverage that to provide the best possible services in terms of primary care and national security. They believe that GPs need to be engaged in the computerization of all primary care in the country.
Locums work in different environments, you must expect to work with various medical computer systems. There are too many clinical systems out there that you can’t possibly master all of them, but finding out ahead of time what system is being used by the majority of your clients, can help you get prepared.
Being comfortable operating various systems opens doors to a lot of opportunities and the best way to learn new systems is to try it out without pressure. A pre-session visit can help you a lot in this manner. You might also want to arrive an hour earlier on your first day so you have time to ask someone at the practice to show you the ropes.
On Your First Day
As mentioned, it’s best to show up a little early for your first session. It’s wise to have at least an hour familiarizing yourself with the computer and the room you’re in.
It’s best to have a method of keeping records so you can track patient outcomes. Remember that communication is crucial in your work as a new locum GP. There are critical issues that might need handing over to the institution’s regular GP.
Since you’ve decided to work independently as a new locum GP, it is important that you make sure you have all the things you need to start your first session. It’s not enough to have your doctor’s bag stuffed with the basics, you also need to make sure you have the right papers, enough knowledge, and the perfect attitude to survive as a new locum GP.
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