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Caring for patients as a locums provider can be challenging because you are working on a temporary basis. Depending on the length of your assignment or shifts, you may not have the opportunity to build the patient relationships typically expected when one visits the doctor.


If you’re interested in becoming a locum tenens professional, take a look at the 5 skills you need to be a great locums provider.



If you are in the situation where you are simply covering for another healthcare provider, many patients may be surprised or uncomfortable with the transition. Also, you may find yourself thrown into a busy practice, where any lack of communication can result in dire consequences or inconsistent care for patients. The key here is not only good communication but adopting the cadence and methods of the existing practice. This means learning different electronic medical records systems, understanding the hierarchy of the care team, and adopting the community’s culture and colloquialisms.


Doctors must be able to view the world from their patients’ perspectives in order to adequately diagnose, treat, and manage illnesses. Often times this can be hard if you are new or unfamiliar with the community and the daily lives of its citizens. Overcoming this obstacle relies on your ability to possess compassion and empathy with your patients.


If you are frequently changing positions – as is done with locums or traveler assignments – it is important  to always to be open to performance critiques and opportunities for improvement. Unlike someone in a permanent position, you have opened yourself up to having multiple bosses  and colleagues in all different types of settings. Harnessing their feedback to improve your skills and abilities as a clinician will be a crucial skill to master. If you are not accepting of feedback and criticism you risk garnering a reputation of being difficult to work with, and ultimately comprising the ability to get future assignments.


Things can change fast and stress is high when being thrown into a new practice. Its important to keep in mind that most facilities needing locum tenens coverage are seeing a spike in patient visits or are temporarily understaffed. Remember that your role is to help alleviate some of these stressors, so it’s important to always maintain a high level of professionalism.

Time Management

Locums providers have a lot to balance throughout the day. While working one assignment you may be booking travel for another, or sometimes even working with multiple organizations in the same day or week. You’ll need to know how to use time to your advantage by planning ahead and setting reminders. While locums practice is typically a solution for burnout, disorganization can lead to more stress and burnout.


These skills will help doctors, nurse practitioners and other locums providers overcome the obstacles of working temporary employment and will ensure long-term success during your healthcare career. Medestar helps healthcare professionals interested in locum tenens or allied traveler assignments find their perfect fit. Contact us today to locate a temporary assignment that matches your skills.