“When you locum, it's not just about yourself”
As she celebrates one year of locum life, OT ’s former pre-reg contributor Bhargavi Zinzuwadia tells us what she has learnt
23 October 2022
Locuming for: 1 year.
When I started as a locum, I wish I had known…
How important it is to be as organised as possible. Get your diary set up. It’s about being prepared. It’s initially scary, so I think it’s important to ease yourself in. Everyone is really friendly when you start, so that’s quite nice. It’s been a really good experience, and a good learning curve. Every store is different, so you learn lots every day.
I realised this when…I started booking days just before the locum work started for me, so not far in advance. But if you book in advance and get to know the team; you get to know more about the store. I realised the value of organisation early on, as soon as I started locuming, speaking to other locums and the practice staff themselves.
The people who helped me realise this…Were my friends who locum as well, and also the store directors, all of whom are very friendly. They understand that it’s different, moving from being a full time resident to a locum work alongside.
This level of organisation helps in my day-to-day with your practice because…If you know what’s happening weeks in advance you can plan your days; you can plan your journey. You’re more at ease when you enter the clinics, because maybe you want to target certain stores, or you want to continue with a certain team. It helps if you organise a few months ahead, for your own experience. Each store has different database and different schemes going on, for example, diabetic clinics, or glaucoma clinics. What do you want to learn from that store?
For me, locum work is vital to help me expand my knowledge of optometry at this time
From an organisational point of view, you can plan your weeks to be able to learn a little bit more. For me, locum work is vital to help me expand my knowledge of optometry at this time
My biggest locum challenge is…
My kit bag essential is…
As a locum, I’ve adapted my days by…Carrying forward all my learnings from residency onwards into locum work. Other than that, I haven’t really changed the way I practise at all. I am thoroughly grateful for all the learnings from the moment I graduated.
Practices can make life easier for locums by…I’ve been very fortunate that most of my practices have gone through what their stores are like before I’ve started my locum work with them. I always ask questions about how the team works before I actually do a day. I've been very fortunate in that sense. I wouldn't have asked for anything to have been done differently so far.
One change I’ve seen whilst working as a locum is…I think a lot of practices are really good at working as a team. The important of being part of a team is reflected from clinical assistants or optical assistants to clinical management, more so now than previously.
Locum work isn’t restricted to multiples. There are independents, there are hospitals, there are universities. There are lots of things you can do
My favourite thing about being a locum is…I think the flexibility, but also the ability to learn a lot from different practices, different areas, and different clinicians. Locum work isn’t restricted to multiples. There are independents, there are hospitals, there are universities. There are lots of things you can do, and that variety is interesting for me at the moment. I've done a couple of hospital days. I do part-time at the university clinics and at multiples. It’s been a good experience. I’ve been lucky in that sense.
The highlight of my time as a hospital locum is…Seeing a different side to my referrals. Asking, ‘okay, maybe I could manage this in practice, but would I?’ It expands your knowledge: would you now refer? There are so many different ways to look at a patient or perspective, rather than just textbook, expanding from a practice scenario to what it would be from a hospital perspective. That’s been interesting for me: what I would think is urgent in practice might be routine for the hospital environment.
My last word after a year of locuming is…
When you locum, it’s not just about yourself. You’re entering a whole team. It’s quite nice to be flexible for that team, because everyone works differently. Understanding each store when you go in makes your life a lot easier. Teamship and friendliness, I would say, are key.