With any subjective question like this, if you ask 10 qualified people, you’ll probably get 10 relatively different, but acceptable, answers. However, if you speak to enough people, you can see a pattern forming at the surface. Certain truths or best practices work their way to the front; and you realize that a question like this really isn’t subjective at all…
As I’ve built relationships with countless clients and providers over my 7 years of locuming, I’ve asked this very question to myself and to others. I’ve asked it often. And not just to clients and providers, but many people in various roles. What follows are the 3 most common responses I’ve received over the years.
A good locums company communicates effectively with every single person involved. The whole is the sum of its parts, and there are many moving parts that have to all come together, sometimes in just the right order, for coverage to be secured utilizing a locums tenens provider. I can tell you from personal experience that a lack of communication from any party involved can be severely damaging. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for many of us to get caught up in the business aspect of what we do. So what’s the outcome of a breakdown in communication in the world of locums? A provider might not go to work. A facility might experience an immediate loss of revenue, and in some cases, a permanent loss due to patient migration. But beyond that, the sad and ugly truth is that in the end, the patient suffers. Not you. Not me. It is always the patient.
2. Patient Focused
At the end of the day, everyone involved in the locums equation should have the same goal. Take care of the patient. Many times people in certain roles within a facility, and in some cases the provider too, can get too snagged on the bottom line. Unfortunately the bottom line isn’t always patient care. Getting caught up in negotiating rates and figuring out who’s going to cover travel and/or lodging costs is too easy and too common. It happens hundreds of times a day all over the country among numerous agencies. Those types of negotiations are necessary. They make sure things stay in motion. But those things are too often the entirety of the equation, instead of a function within the equation. I can tell you that the most successful and longest lived relationships between me, the facilities, and the providers have all come as a result of a patient-focused approach.
3. Solution Oriented
This one may sound like a “no-brainer” or downright common sense. But when I say solution oriented, I’m not referring to simply “filling an order”. Anyone can fill an order. It’s not difficult. I’m speaking about much more than that. You’ve probably noticed by now that there’s a common end-game in locums: patient care. Sometimes just filling an order doesn’t meet that end. Sometimes it takes a much more creative approach than either the facility or the provider expected.
In this industry, there is a solution to every problem. The best locums companies find those solutions. Often times the solution looks nothing like what was originally “ordered”, but turns out to be exactly what the patients’ need. And after it’s all said and done, if patient care isn’t your ultimate goal… locums may not be for you.
Written by Tobey Decker, guest author for Consilium Staffing.