Agencies sometime see the interview process as a means for a job site to approve their recommended candidate. However, I believe the interview is just as important for locum tenens candidates as it is for the job site. This is perhaps the best way to get a feel for the facility and if it is the right match for you. I have put together a list of questions I recommend you ask the person that is interviewing you.
- How many assistive personal staff will I have?
It is good to know before you get to the site how many medical assistants and nurses you will have assisting you. If the patient volume is low, then 1 MA per provider is sufficient. If the patient volume is high, then 1 MA per provider will not make the cut.
- How many patients per day will I be seeing?
Most places will give you a range. For ex: a high volume may be 25-30 patients per day. Does this include walk in patients? If a patient is a no-show, are you required to see a walk-in patient instead? A lot of times, the no-show patients help balance out our busy schedules, but if you are required to see walk-ins in their stead, then it may be challenging.
- How much training/orientation will I receive before I start seeing patients?
Some places will give you 1 full day of orientation, whereas others will give 1 week. It just depends on you, the facility, and your level of comfort. If you have to learn a new EHR system, I recommend at least 1-2 days of EHR training alone. If you are a relatively new nurse practitioner, I recommend you ask for 1-2 days of shadowing another provider so you can see the workflow. Many sites will gradually increase the amount of patients you are seeing per day as part of the orientation phase. Be sure to ask what their orientation process is before you start your assignment so that there are no surprises!
- Will I have any admin time?
It is common to work locum tenens and not be provided with any admin time. Meanwhile, you see other providers with either several hours or an entire day each week for admin time. Admin time is useful because it gives you time to answer patient calls/messages, provide medication refills that are requested, review lab results as they come in, complete prior authorizations, and complete charting if necessary. It just depends if you often find yourself needing extra time for these miscellaneous tasks or if you are able to fit them in your schedule. I once saw a locum tenens physician request her last week at the assignment for admin time alone, because she was so behind in charting, reviewing labs, and billing. I usually find that 1 hour a week is more than enough admin time for locum tenens nurse practitioners.
- Will I be the sole provider at the clinic?
Sometimes without realizing it initially, you may be the sole provider working at the clinic. If you are uncomfortable with this, make sure to ask during the interview process. Personally, I do not mind being the sole provider at an office. However, there are many advantages of having other nurse practitioners, physicians, or physician assistants working with you. For instance, you can bounce off ideas from one-another; get a second opinion for a complex patient; or switch patients if you are not comfortable with a requested procedure etc.
Having these questions answered can help determine if the facility is the right fit for you. The closer the answers match your needs, the less likely you will be stressed and unhappy while working there. As always, feel free to message me if you have any questions.