'What equipment should I take to my session?' - Advice from locums we love

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One of the joys of being a locum is that you are able to bring fresh eyes to new environments, this was one of the most popular answers we got when we surveyed locums and asked them why they had chosen that career path. 

While the flexibility and variability are attractive, locumming can also bring its stresses*. Unfamiliar room set ups can cause stress when the equipment you need is not to hand, rummaging around looking for basic equipment can impact the patient experience and can make you look unprofessional. A high level of preparation is required of you to stay professional and deliver a good service to the patients in the 10 minute appointment slot. We all know that keeping time is very important if you want to make a good impression and get asked back

Having a toolbox with basic instruments can release some of the stress related to settling down in new practices. Adequate preparation makes you look more professional and prevents unnecessary disturbance.

Before you start in a new practice, think about the Instruments and forms you might need and where they are kept.  It is a good idea to make sure you’re familiarised with the practice’s record card before seeing the first patient.

There isn’t an official list of equipment which you should carry around so we thought it would be helpful to get some recommendations and compile some examples for our readers. Feel free to comment on this article if you would like to give your fellow locums some advice.  The former chairman of NASGP, Dr Michael Uprichard, recommends carrying a basic set of equipment, such as stethoscope; portable BP monitor; digital thermometer; tape measure; and a directory of useful contact numbers for the surgery, or area, in which you are working.  If space isn’t an issue, a Headlamp and loupe would make a good addition to your tool box.

Some locums choose to bring an emergency bag with them, mostly because being prepared for every eventuality can mean you are more relaxed when performing your job.  If you happen to be working for an Out of Hours Provider, you are typically supplied with an emergency medicine bag if you are the visiting doctor. If you do decide to take an emergency bag it is important to check that all your medication is in date.

Whatever you decide to bring with you to your practice, preparation is key. Shan, a locum in NW London told us that he travels light, bringing only a stethoscope. "I find it much easier to turn up half an hour early and get a tour from the practice manager, all the equipment I need will be in the practice, it's just a case of knowing where it is.” We like this advice because it also gives you the chance to meet the practice manager and establish a relationship. Turning up early is a great way to look keen too, especially as the biggest gripe we have from practice managers is from Locums not turning up on time!

* see our other blog posts on how to manage some of the other stresses of locum life

If you have any questions about the blog or to offer to contribute please contact Melissa - melissa.morris@lantum.com

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