In today’s fast changing health industry, we are seeing more and more people moving towards freelancing as a medical career and it has been a trend that has been up and coming for a while now.
With burnout and fatigue in medical doctors at an all time high, all while being faced with rising demand for services with increasing physician shortages in both specialty and primary care, healthcare leaders are turning to locums to help employers ensure continuity of care. Flexible staffing solutions are being used as a way of keeping their practice running at full potential while taking the pressure off of themselves to live healthier, more fulfilled lives outside of their work environment.
A grim statistic states that doctors are 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population due to working under harsh work circumstances, and physician burnout is a major cause of medical professioinals making medical errors while diagnosing. With this in mind, it is safe to say that our general practitioners, optometrists, pharmacists and the like all need a breather every so often, to keep them operating at 100%, making good choices, and living better lives!
Furthermore, with all the red tape and bureaucracy that comes with bringing in international help, Practice owners in South Africa turn to one of two obvious alternatives: Hire another medical professional full-time or bring on a Locum.
Both of these options are viable as a business choice for a medical Practice and each come with their own Pros and Cons, so let’s dive into them and see what we can learn:
This is a traditional business approach and is the most tried and tested method. Many business owners, not limited to the medical industry, will look to expand their team as the need for pressure alleviation becomes an imminent problem that requires addressing. Adding patient numbers is great growth, only if you have the capacity to provide care for them.
This option gives you the ability to take a person through an interview process. You can make sure that they are the right person for what you and your practice are requiring on a long term basis and you can get a long, in-depth understanding of who they are as people while assessing their character to ensure that they are right for the job. All the things a business owner would look for in a long term employment candidate.
There is also an element of partnership with your new medical professional, and with that comes shared responsibility in the everyday running of your Medical Practice and attaining new patients taking your Practice into new areas, together.
This process can take months (sometimes years) to successfully find that perfect person you are looking to partner with on a long term basis.
These candidates, being medical professionals, with years of specializing behind their name and their own aspirations, will not often come without some sacrifice. The cost to your business will need to be carefully considered as the cost of hiring a full-time practitioner can be high. This could also land on some kind of business agreement between you said person in the form of ownership shares or profit splitting.
This is a more direct approach, as a Locum will come into your Practice to serve a specific purpose and then leave with no strings attached once their rate has been paid by your finance department. It is the non-committal approach to relieving business pressure fast.
A Locum is a highly qualified medical professional with varied experience that will serve their purpose for the time that you need them, no strings attached. Which can often work as the perfect option to alleviate pressure off of a busy Practice for a season. Then the agreement ends once the Practice no longer requires the Locum’s assistance. You are not tied to them and they are not tied to you in the long term unless stated otherwise in your initial agreement (which we will get to in a moment).
Finding a fully qualified and trustworthy Locum is increasingly difficult as the need for pressure relief in the business environment gets higher and higher (all the good ones get snapped up). You also do not have the opportunity to truly assess them as professionals leading up to the day which may be an added risk to hiring a Locum for your Practice.
It is understandable to not want to trust someone in your Practice that you don’t know. The traditional way of approaching this problem would be to go the route of interviewing and finding that right person, and with the rising statistics of doctor fatigue and burnout, finding full-time extra help is definitely an option that all medical professionals should consider regardless of which option they feel is best suited to them.
Then enters LocumBase: The Locum booking platform that solves all your needs regarding Locums.
Locumbase has proven to not only be a good way to find good quality Locums through their vetted and verified directory, but as a business tool for medical Practices. Up until now, booking a Locum has been a long and laborious risk to your business, whereas now, through LocumBase, you can view and assess each available Locum at face value and make your decision then and there regarding who best suits your Practice and it’s needs. All LocumBase Locums have been vetted and verified as good quality candidates in their field, so the only thing that should be a deciding factor for you is their experience and their hourly rate, which is all listed in their Locum profile along with a list of other information about the Locum on the LocumBase platform.
So the question is: Why not use LocumBase as a way to not only alleviate pressure when you need it, but also take your Practice to the next level when you’ve got the energy to put your foot on the gas pedal in bringing in higher volumes of patients? Growing your Practice and growing your income.
Bringing on a Locum and simply assigning them a vacant room in your practice for a period of time could see you increase your capacity drastically during their occupation, all while you are still at the helm of running your Practice and acting as a supervisor while getting to know them. Then once you have established a level of trust between you and the Locum, you can ensure that you use them during the times you need a bit of a break without the stress of worrying about how things are going. This can be done easily through marking down your ‘favourite’ Locum on the LocumBase platform. It is the perfect solution for both sides of the situation.
Regardless of which option you feel is best for you and your Practice needs, whether it be finding someone you can build with or looking for a direct solve for the problem, looking after yourself as a Practice owner is vitally important. As the need for good doctors grows more and more, your patients need you to be in the best shape you can be to ensure that you keep making good decisions.