Fostering the Success of Locum Tenens Providers: A Guide for Medical Facilities
85% of healthcare practices use locum tenens providers to fill in a lack of full-time positions in their hospitals and offices. Locum tenens are physicians working temporarily at an office that is not theirs.
These temporary doctors are mainly contracted for remote areas but can find work in their town, state or other places. They can also find employment in clinics or hospitals. Healthcare providers started working with locum tenens in the early 1970s when small towns were under-staffed and needed more medical help.
Many doctors choose a career as locum tenens because they enjoy flexible schedules, travel opportunities, extra income and clinical experiences. If you are a healthcare practice or hospital looking for more help, a locum doctor is perfect for you. In this guide, you will learn how to ensure success for locum tenens providers.
Create a welcome packet
Before your temporary provider arrives, you need to have a welcome packet ready for them. A welcome folder will hold information like building maps, computer login information, staff names and numbers, patient lists, temporary id, parking instructions, prescription pads, cafeteria hours, and other relevant information. Having all this information available for your locum tenens will make the process of them joining the team easier.
Plan a one-day orientation
Locum tenens are familiar with short orientations. They are usually thrown into work their first or second day. To make your temporary physician comfortable with your staff, rules and practice, schedule at least one full day of orientation.
At orientation, give them their welcome packet, answer questions, take them on a hospital tour, introduce them to other staff members, and explain their role while they are there. Some practices prefer a half-day orientation but always talk to your locum tenens to see what they are most comfortable with.
Also, remember not to overwhelm your temporary doctor with work. Give them time to adjust to the job and area.
Assign a buddy
New buildings, coworkers and patients can be overwhelming. Remember the days when you got lost all the time? To make things work smoothly in your office, assign a buddy to your locum tenens.
This buddy can help your temporary worker get used to other staff members, long-term patients and the building. Before the locum tenens arrives, ask around the office to see what staff members feel comfortable showing the new worker around.
Since locum tenens are only at your practice for a short time, it is best to have login information, ID cards and other technical information set up ahead of time. You need to notify your IT specialists about three to seven days before the temporary physician arrives.
Make sure to give IT your locum tenens’ first and last name so they can get information entered into the computer system. If any issues arise while the part-time physician is trying to log in, make sure to have IT’s contact information on hand.
Prepare prescription pads
For offices or hospitals that prescribe medication to patients, you need to prepare your locum tenens prescription pads in advance. Even though many places use EMR (e-prescribe) to print patients’ prescriptions, many practices still use paper and pen to write down medication or medical equipment prescriptions.
If possible, order them about two to four weeks before the part-time doctor arrives. Ordering ahead of time solves any last-minute prepping. Make sure the pad includes their first and last name and NPI/DEA number. Once these notepads arrive at your office, place them in the locum tenens’ orientation packet.
Invite them to a meal
Many locum tenens arrive in cities and towns that they know nothing about or know no one. Make your temporary employee feel welcome by inviting them to lunch or dinner.
Eating a meal together is also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the part-time physician. Plus, it is a great way to break the ice and make the locum tenens less nervous. Remember, this invite is not an interview, so try to ask appropriate questions.
Pre-plan return visits
If you enjoyed working with your locum tenens, you could hire them back on for a future visit. However, locum tenens schedules do fill quite fast, especially if they are popular and have loads of experience. After the temporary doctor finishes their work stay, go ahead and schedule their return visit. It will take months before they return in many cases, but at least you have them already scheduled.
Find successful locum tenens providers
Due to COVID-19, many more hospitals and offices hire these temporary staff members to help keep up with the influx of patients. Your practice can benefit from working with one of these doctors. By following these tips above, every single locum tenens you hire will be successful and work well in your hospital or office. If you’re hoping to find the right locum tenens provider for your facility, please contact a TinkBird Healthcare Staffing representative today.