The Loud Speaker

A bookamed publication

Day one as a locum GP: your checklist

Mar 12 2017

Starting any new job can feel overwhelming, but as locum doctor, the first day will become a regular occurrence as you move from one practice to another. Diligent preparation is the key to feeling calm and under control, so keep this handy checklist with you to help you prepare for that nerve-wracking first day as a locum GP.

1. Make sure your paperwork is in order

The last thing you want to have to deal with just before (or during) your locum placement is paperwork expiring, so have a thorough check through it all and make sure there’s nothing on the verge of expiring.

2. Double-check the details of your locum assignment

Read over any documentation you’ve received in relation to your forthcoming assignment and clarify what you’re expected to do, such as the number of hours you’ll be working and the number of patients you’ll see. To help you prepare, it’s worth doing a bit of your own research into the surgery and the likely demographics of the patients you’ll meet. It’s also a good idea to query whether you’ll be getting a formal induction, so you can allow time for this on your first day.

3. Jot down some questions

In the rush of your first morning, it’s easy to forget to ask the right questions until it’s too late. Go into your first surgery prepared by writing down a few key questions the night before. For example, these might include questions about procedures (such as how to summon patients to your room, or how to refer them to a specialist), telephone extensions, the location of your panic button and where to find official forms.

4. Plan a route to work

Getting stuck in traffic and consequently running late will add unnecessary stress to your first day, so get Google Maps up and plan your route to work in advance, including a plan B. Try not to leave this until the night before; it’s better to plan it during the morning rush hour on a day before you start, as this will give you an accurate picture of traffic levels at the time you’ll be travelling.

5. Get your doctor’s bag ready

You don’t know what equipment you’ll have available to you in your new surgery. A good rule of thumb for packing your doctor’s bag is to include anything you’d normally take with you on home visits, along with your BNF and any other books you routinely carry with you. This guide covers suggested contents and includes advice on keeping your bag safe - a particularly important aspect when you’re working in a new environment where you’re unsure of the level of security.

6. Make lunch

Finally, don’t forget to make yourself a packed lunch so you don’t have to worry about finding food in an unfamiliar location. Prepare it the night before so that you can get to work nice and early; this will give you a bit more time to get to know your way around the practice and its procedures and software.