Life as a locum
Locum optometrist, Dr Valarie Simpson Jerome, on why she became a locum and what her daily routine involves
7am: My day starts out with me looking at my phone to make sure that the practice I am meant to be working in has not messaged me to say the clinic has been cancelled or that there are no patients for the day and I am not needed.
7.10am: When I first started locuming, a percentage of my time would be taken up securing and booking work. However, I have now built up a reputation so I don’t have to do this so much. I am a member of a WhatsApp group for a multiple, so I check that each morning or two to see if there are any places nearby that need locum work for the week or month ahead.
8am: When I leave the house, I always take two bags with me for work. I am very particular and I like to use my own equipment, even if I know that the practice where I am locuming has it. So, if I have no messages, I gather my two bags together, drop my little one off to nursery and travel to the practice where I am locuming that day.
8.50am: I like to arrive around 10 minutes early so I can settle in, turn the computer on, log in and set up. During this routine I will probably have to re-arrange the testing room a little and tidy up if it’s needed. I like to get everything set up and ready to go before my first patient arrives.
I like to arrive, not on time, but around 10 minutes early so I can settle in, turn the computer on, log in and set up
2pm (if not in practice): I have to be disciplined and do my invoicing once a week. I set myself time on a day when I am not in practice and stick to it. Most people pay regularly and on time, but on occasion there will be a lost invoice that I have to chase and that does take time. You do have to budget time to do this admin in order to stay on top of it or I could see it easily eating into too much of your personal time.
You do have to budget time to do this admin in order to stay on top of it
5.30pm: At the end of the day, I always return the testing room to how it was before I arrived. If the trial frame was in a particular place, for example, I will put it back there before I leave. I also always make sure that I speak to the practice manager or whoever is in charge that day to say goodbye and confirm any future work.
- As told to Emily McCormick.