For the most part, I have enjoyed my experiences working in locum tenens. However, like any other workplace, there can be some internal conflict. I would like to share a couple of experiences with this and my purpose for sharing them.
During one site I worked for, the scheduling was often irregular, and there would be times that the clinic was over staffed. The patients were only walk-ins so no appointments were made prior. One day, instead of taking turns seeing patients, the other provider assumed that since I was the locums provider, I should be doing the majority of the work.
Each time a new patient came, she had the medical assistant place the patient under my profile. Sometimes she would ask the patient why they were there, and give me a brief overview of the patient, instead of seeing them herself. At first I did not mind since I prefer to be busy than bored. Yet, after seeing 12 patients on my own, and her seeing 0, I decided to confront her.
Instead of asking “why aren’t you seeing any patients?” I jokingly said “Ok you can see the rest of the patients for the day”. She simply said “ok”. And guess what, she saw the remaining 9 patients of the day!
During another site I worked in, I had a different dilemma. In this instance, I had treated a provider’s patient for sinusitis the week prior. The following week, I had a message waiting for me on my EHR from the nurse practitioner stating: “For your information, the Z-pack is no longer the drug of choice for sinusitis. It is augmentin.” When checking the patient’s chart, I noticed they were allergic to penicillin (this derivative is in augmentin), which reminded me why I chose to treat the patient with the Z-pack. I responded to the provider stating: “Yes, I know. The patient is allergic to penicillin which is why I chose to give the Z-pack over augmentin.” The provider responded with “Ok, I see that now.”
I was super annoyed with that message because 1. I knew what I was doing; 2. The provider should have checked the patient’s chart before messaging me; 3. It was a sinus infection! The treatment isn’t nearly as significant as diabetes or hypertension. 4. I had the utmost respect for this nurse practitioner until he decided to scrutinize my care for his patients; and lastly 5. I have a few more years of experience as a nurse practitioner than he does.
My point is, although most of your coworkers during a locums assignment will be happy to have you there (and the help), some may take advantage. Do not let them abuse you or question your skills! Be confident in who you are as a provider, offer to help as needed, and make sure everyone else is playing fair. Unfortunately, we all know workplace violence is quite common in the medical field. Do not let it go unnoticed and stick up for yourself!