The Pros and Cons of Locuming
If you are a doctor in the UK you have probably heard about how dreamy the locum life is. In the darkest moments of training, you may have considered joining the ever-growing band of doctors who are leaving training careers and adopting the lifestyle of a full-time locum doctor. It can make for a great choice for your F3 year.
While it is true, there are many positives to being a locum doctor, the fact is that locuming doesn’t suit everyone. In this article, we have listed some of the main pros and cons for locuming to help you consider whether the locum life is right for you.
Use the below pros and cons list to decide whether locuming might be right for you. If you want to explore this topic in more detail, we have lots of articles and resources on the topic of locuming. Check them out in our Locum Doctor Hub or get rapid answers to frequently asked questions in our Locum Academy.
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The Pros and Cons of Locuming
Higher overall pay
Locum doctors earn more per hour than contracted doctors so if you work full-time as a locum you can significantly out-earn your colleagues and earn up to £100K per year. Use our Locum Salary Calculator to estimate how much you'll be able to earn as a locum, and read more about increasing your locum pay here.
Locum doctors create their own rotas, so they can choose to work intensely or take long periods of time off, choose working patterns that have no antisocial (night or weekend) shifts, or dedicate more time for family, holidays, and hobbies.
Easier Annual Requirements
Though appraisals can be scary, they are generally easier to achieve than ARCP as there is no fixed amount of evidence you are required to show each year. Appraisals are more personal to your own professional goals, rather than an exercise in meeting the requirements of a royal college or training programme.
Locum doctors can work across departments easily which is beneficial if you aren't certain of a career in a particular specialty and want to test it out, or want to gain experience in a number of specialties.
Locums are paid by the hour, so your income may fluctuate depending on how many shifts you work each month. You may need to organise your own tax payments which can be extra work. There may also be times when there is less work available in your preferred region or department.
Lack of Career Progression
Locum doctors maintain their GMC licenses but do not progress up the grades like trainees. It is possible to advance your career and even reach consultant grades but this takes time, effort, and organization.
Locum doctors don't have clinical or educational supervisors so finding mentorship, support, and learning opportunities can be more of a challenge.
Locum doctors fill rota gaps and may be moved across teams or departments with little warning to maintain continuity for regular (substantive) staff. This can be stressful and exhausting as you may never fully settle into a comfortable routine.
This article is part of a wider series of comprehensive guides and information to help doctors ensure their F3 year is a success. We cover everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience.
Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
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