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What Makes a Good Locum Doctor? 6 Must-Have Qualities

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 8, 2017 5:35:47 PM / by Ann Lopez Aziz

There’s no question as to the attractiveness of a locum practice. But what qualities must a good locum general practitioner (GP) possess to succeed in the field? What makes a good locum doctor? According to Prof. David Haslam, chairman of The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, GPs need to be able to “shut up, listen, care, and know something”. Those may be desirable traits, but defining a good locum doctor is a formidable task.

A study done by Mayo Clinic where they surveyed patients from 14 medical specialists reveals seven desirable traits of a good doctor. Soliant Health – a healthcare staffing giant in the USA – collated and aggregated rankings of the top 10 quality of highly effective doctors. The most common characteristic of a good locum doctor seems to be the ability to confront all causes of pain and suffering while inspiring total confidence in patients. Yes, that’s some heavy burden. Fortunately, skills can be cultivated.

What makes a good locum doctor?

1. Be Reliable

Part of your job is to show up when and where you say you will. If you cancel shifts at the eleventh hour, are always late or don’t turn up at all, you will be viewed negatively by employers. There may be instances where you can’t help but cancel or show up late. When this happens, communicate well and promptly with your employer, so they don’t struggle to find a replacement at the last minute. Also, set and maintain a high standard of performance for yourself. Deliver great work. To be a good locum GP, make sure you can be relied upon to do the job that you signed up for.

2. Be Humane

Patients want their doctors to show care and compassion. You need to be interested in your patients as a human beings outside of their medical chart. It’s not enough that you know countless of scientific facts because there are still several diseases that medical science is ignorant about. To be a good locum GP, don’t just care about the science, think about your patients’ emotions too. Listen and be patient.

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.

Register with us as a Locum Doctor

3. Be Knowledgeable

This may seem contradictory to the above, but wouldn’t a good locum GP or any other medical professional who cares for his patients want to know the latest techniques? Patients want a GP who possess a wide-ranging knowledge of medicine. To be a good locum doctor, you must be committed to continuing education. Knowing the most advanced techniques to the benefit of your patients must be one of your priorities.

4. Be Focused

Even more vital to the satisfaction of your patients is your full attention. You might possess an extensive knowledge of medicine, but if you are distracted by other tasks and activities, how can you fully understand your patients? If you don’t understand what your patients’ problems are, you cannot work towards treating them.

5. Be Organized

One of the fundamental factors of quality health care delivery is a doctor’s proficiency. It is human to err occasionally. By being organized, however, you can reduce the risk of committing mistakes due to negligence.  It also increases patient satisfaction since being organized leads to shorter waiting time and more accurate diagnosis and prognosis.

Additionally, being organized is a must for a good locum regarding managing your own documents for tax, insurance, identity, medical indemnity, as well as the paperwork and records required for every job you take. We will cover these topics in the upcoming articles.

6. Be Confident

Your patients will want to feel that their doctor knows what they’re doing. Whether giving advice or dispensing treatment, patients want you to be confident and inspire confidence in them. Patients want to see that you are qualified to be in the driver’s seat. Most patients tackle doctor appointments with some degree of fear and worry. Being reassured that you know what you’re doing, that you have faith in your own abilities makes your patients feel confident that they’re in safe hands.

There are some reasons, among others, why medical professionals might choose to work as a locum GP. Some consider it as a short-term option while they’re between jobs or to gain hands-on experience of different medical practices before committing to one. Others are attracted to the flexible time locum work offers or see locum practice as a desirable part-time job after retirement. Many want to be a locum doctor, but only a few care enough to be a good locum GP. If you are one of those few who cares, these six qualities of a good locum GP are a must-have!

Related articles that might interest you:

Understanding Tort of Negligence as a Medical Professional Freelancer

Freelancing and Illness: What Can You Do?

5 Complaint Resolution Best Practices for Medical Freelancers

Your Do's and Don'ts Checklist to Get Started as a Freelancer

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Topics: Freelancing

Ann Lopez Aziz

Written by Ann Lopez Aziz

Ann is a CaregiverAsia Powerpuff girl by day, mother by night. And a prudent Caregiver who believes balance is key. When not training for her next IRONMAN race, she scourers the neighbourhood for tasty epok-epok. Good thing she likes to share ‘cause sharing is caring!

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