Saturday, 11 October 2008

Please welcome our newest blogger, Dr. P

Hi guys,
Dr. Thunder here. Just posting Dr. P's blog entry while we sort him out with a password etc. Dr. P is a medical registrar working in Ireland. Here's his 1st post:

Few things to me seem as naturally paradoxical as locum work.

Condensation builds up on the windscreen of my pride and joy as the clock ambles particularly showly from 8.30 to 8.55. Here goes.
The sympathetic orchestra slowly climaxes in my small intestine as I click my car door shut in the shadow of my place of employment for the next few days.. (or at least the next few hours).
The fear and desire to take flight are in stark contrast with the determination and certainty that won me this short adventure in mercenary medicine in the first place.

I had to regularly update my CV. I had to provide proof that I was Hep B immune(again at least for the next few hours). And most importantly, I had to alert the agency that I would be available to stand in for one of my absent peers.
With lightening fast fingers, I dialed the agency. ‘Hi... Yes I’m available for the job in Portlaoise/Sligo General/St Lukes Hospital… Great… Thanks, talk to you then.’..

Some say locums get a raw deal. Not necessarily so. Suspicion is much more often bestowed on Medical Mercenaries than any significant level of responsibility. Locums usually carry out the work of juniors.

Studies somewhere would surely show that locums are at least twice as likely to be asked to perform the PR exam that the Reg forgot, roughly 30% more likely to be asked to take the peripheral blood culture that eluded the intern and four times more likely to be holding the SHO bleep for the less sought after portion of the night.
Thankfully, this contrasts with the inflated hourly wage of the Locum.
And the less advance notice the Locum recieves, the more hansomely rewarded he or she is.

But what I find most paradoxical however about my species is the fact that most locums are already overworked in their regular jobs.
Why am I doing this on my week off I think to myself as I walk into a ward I’ve never seen, a list of patients I’ve never met and a barrage of questions I’ll hear over and over again?
‘So where do you work normally?’
‘Do you not need your holiday?’
‘Are you saving for something?’
In a climate where we complain of the hours that we are forced to work, I’m choosing to work just a few more.. Why?
Why not? It’s 80 euros an hour. I’ll take a break on my next week off.

Dr. P


  1. Welcome Doc P

    With a name like that, I don't suppose you work in urology by any chance? ;-)

    I like the paradox you use but I don't really get your point. You say locum docs get a bum deal (in all senses) but then so do most locum services. Surely it makes sense to be cautious (as opposed to suspicious) when dealing with temp staff? You do locum work in your time-off because the pay is what's the issue here?
    I'm confused!

    Sorry to be difficult, I don't mean to be honest!

  2. Welcome!
    I have seen locums given weekend call for every single weekend they are well as call during the week. Long term locums tend to be treated differently though...
    Hope you get some time off soon after this one...