Having a personal doctor is an incredibly important thing for your health, as a whole. Why? Well, first of all, because this is a person who is well-familiar with your personal health history and habits, which makes them more efficient at coming up with a suitable treatment regimen. You see, being a good doctor requires more than just medical knowledge and one’s ability to perform under pressure. It’s also about one’s people skills and the ability to establish trust. However, no doctor in the world is available 24/7, 365 days of the year. So, every now and then, you will find yourself in a situation to deal with their substitute – the so-called locum doctor. Here are five things you need to know about substitute doctors in order to make this experience as pleasant as possible.
A substitute doesn’t mean low skill level
The first major misconception about substitute doctors is the idea that they are, for some reason, of the lower medical skill than your own doctor. This is simply not true. These trained medical experts are not substituting doctors because they can’t find steady employment or run their own practice efficiently enough. In fact, the majority of locum doctors have a full-time position or practice and are working as locum doctors to either earn some additional revenue or make contacts that will eventually become loyal patients. In other words, approaching this new doctor with a pre-conceived doubt in their medical skills is an unnecessary and even harmful practice.
There are many reasons for being a substitute doctor
Previously, we’ve mentioned the idea of people second-guessing one’s expertise just because they’re a substitute doctor. This often comes down to semantics, due to the fact that the very word substitute (when it comes to a professional) has a somewhat of a negative connotation. The thing is that you need to understand that there are many reasons why you want to become a substitute doctor. Sure, the earning potential may not be as great as having your own private practice but the flexibility of one’s work time may be a much stronger factor for some people. At the end of the day, the primary motivation of being able to help others remains unchanged.
More and more practices are using it
Keep in mind that substitute doctors are the backbone of the present-day medical industry. With so many private practices out there, it can sometimes be quite difficult to ensure that your manpower works at maximum capacity. This has created a whole new branch of the medical industry – agencies that specialize in creating contact with potential locum doctors and private practices in need of substitute physicians. These medical locum agencies are in charge of checking the credentials of substitute doctors and providing practices with the most skilled aid available. In other words, finding a locum doctor has become more reliable than it ever was before.
Building rapport is still incredibly important
One of the biggest problems of being a locum doctor is the idea that they have a shorter amount of time to build a rapport with a patient. You see, your regular physician is someone that you already have a relationship with. They are also someone who’s familiar with your medical history. Most importantly, they’re someone you trust, both as a professional and a human being, which makes it easier for you to open up to them. Keeping secrets from your doctor, outright lying to them or averting embarrassing questions is a common behavior pattern that locum doctors face. The problem, however, lies in the fact that all of these things make it much more difficult for them to make the right diagnosis.
It’s great for one’s CV
Previously, we’ve mentioned that it’s not necessarily the case that a physician has turned to become a locum doctor because they can’t find employment. On the other hand, if this were the case, being a locum doctor is one of the best ways for you to improve your CV. By investing some time into working around at different practices, you can add an impressive list of prestigious medical institutions that you’ve worked at, thus improving your odds at finding lucrative employment. Not to mention the fact that you stand to make numerous contacts within the industry.
At the end of the day, the fact is that the medical industry can’t function without substitute doctors. What matters the most is the fact that this system creates a unique win-win-win scenario, where practices get their manpower, doctors get steady employment and patients get appropriate medical care. In other words, the system works to everyone’s benefit and the only downside is the fact that some people’s lack of understanding of the topic makes them timid and, thus, full of prejudice. Fortunately, now you know better.