As you approach the end of your studies, you may be considering working as a locum rather than an employed audiologist. Here at Prospect Health we work with a variety of people who for various reasons choose to work in the field of audiology either as a locum or an employee.
To help you decide which side of the fence might be most comfortable for you, we’ve pulled together our knowledge and experiences to help you explore your options upon graduating…
This is a great plus for locum work, being able to fit your work schedule around other commitments – further studying, family etc is often a key reason why people choose to do locum work. However, you do need to consider that finding a regular locum position that will provide consistent income can be tricky, you do need to think about how flexible you need your role to be – many audiology practices have part time positions and this can be just as flexible, without the worry of finding work every few weeks/months.
On paper income from locum work can look very attractive and the salaries advertised often look high in comparison to permanent roles. However, as a locum you are responsible for paying your tax, national insurance, student loan fees and your pension… as an employee, your employer will look after this for you but as a locum you will need to take responsibility and probably seek advice from an accountant. Another thing to consider is holiday pay, maternity pay and sick pay – none of this is available to you as a locum but is provided if you’re an employee.
Continuing Education and Training
As a healthcare professional it’s vital that you keep your CPD up to date, you are ultimately responsible for this and for maintaining your registrations with regulators like the HCPC and RCCP. As a locum you will need to keep up to date with industry developments and make sure your CPD is varied and that you’re regularly adding to it. As an employee in most practices, you will be supported with your CPD; some organisations even have resources dedicated to their audiologists’ professional development making sure everyone is up to date and invited to attend industry events etc. As a locum the onus is entirely on you to maintain your CPD.
Locums need to be prepared for whatever they may walk into at the practice they are working at that day; they also need to be prepared for a sometimes longer list of patients to see and shorter test times than the employed audiologists… practices paying the higher prices for locums want to make sure they get their money’s worth so prepare to walk in and get straight in to see your first patient. This can sometimes be stressful for experienced audiologists so as a newly qualified professional consider whether this work pressure will compliment your current working style.
As a locum you will visit a variety of practices and work with lots of different people and see all sorts of patients. This can be great in terms of gaining experience of different working environments especially if you’re yet to discover the kind of practice you’d like to work in. However in terms of experience with patients you may find that you’re often just performing routine examinations, not really getting involved with complex cases or having any continuity of care with patients so this may be something to consider.
Due to the short term nature of locum work in can be tricky to form lasting relationships with work colleagues and depending on what you’re like as a person this can for some feel isolating. However some people thrive on meeting different people and regardless of the time they spend in a practice sometimes, like in any situation you can find people you click with and forge great working relationships.
The concern many locums have, regardless of whether they’re an audiologist or any other healthcare professional; is the follow-up care a patient receives. It’s easy to become protective over patients and of course everyone wants to do a good job but as a locum you have to be prepared to hand the next step of care over and not always see your patient through to the end of their treatment. It’s important to think about whether you would be happy not seeing care plans through to their conclusions and whether seeing patients on an ad hoc basis would bring you job satisfaction.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to working as a locum. For those who are newly qualified, it’s important to take some time to think about how you like to work, what you’re looking to gain from your working life and your career aspirations.
Working with Prospect Health you will have access to a variety of roles and our experienced recruiters can chat to you about what you’re looking for and work with you to find a great next role. To browse Prospect Health’s Audiology roles visit the job pages here or call a member of the Hear Care Team on 01423 813452.