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The 'Where' and 'Why' of Locum Psychiatry Psychiatry is a unique form of medicine at many levels. Doctors deal with patients not considered mainstream, they tend to work with individual patients for much longer periods of time, and neither diagnosis or prognosis are necessarily set in stone for any patient. So, imagine how much more challenging it must be for locum psychiatrists who don't have a steady practice.

The nature of locum psychiatry is such that doctors must look at choosing assignments a little bit differently than their hospitalist and family medicine counterparts. For example, psychiatrists are more likely to look at the 'where' and 'why' of a given assignment in addition to things such as salary and scheduling expectations. The where’s and whys can provide the psychiatrist with a lot of valuable information.

The Where: Where an Assignment Is Located Locum doctors outside of the field of psychiatry may look at the where of a given assignment only in terms of whether the location would be a nice place to visit or not. In psychiatry, location is a lot more important for one simple reason: location plays a big role in the kinds of patients the psychiatrist is going to see. Take a large city like Los Angeles or New York, for example. Primarily, patient volume is going to be exponentially greater in both of those cities as compared to a smaller city in the American Midwest. Simply put, patient load is commensurate with population density. Vista Staffing Solutions


In addition to patient load are the problems psychiatrists will be dealing with. For example, psychiatric problems related to drugs and alcohol are going to be more prevalent in the larger cities. Support services for these kinds of problems are almost always readily available in major metropolitan areas but lacking in rural areas. These are all things need to be considered before taking an assignment.

The Why: Why Is the Facility in Need of Your Services? In terms of the why, locum psychiatrists need to do their best to figure out why a facility is in need of their services. Let's face it; locum psychiatry is not nearly as prevalent as locum family medicine or emergency medicine. The nature of psychiatry is such that there is just not as high demand for temporary psychiatrists. So why does that hospital need a locum? A favorable reason would be something like requiring a locum to fill in for a doctor getting ready to go on extended maternity or paternity leave. The permanent psychiatrist hasn't jumped ship. In fact, he or she is looking forward to getting back to work. Such a scenario would be ideal for the locum because there would be fewer questions (if any) about the facility or its work environment. On the other hand, there are other reasons that might reflect an undesirable facility. There is no need to get into those reasons here – experienced doctors know how to identify red flags easily enough. The point is this: just because a hospital or psychiatric facility needs a locum doctor does not mean the assignment is necessarily a good fit for any psychiatrist who wants it.

Practice Makes Perfect There is no way to guarantee the locum psychiatrist will always choose assignments wisely. It might even be difficult when a doctor first gets started. The good news is that practice makes perfect. The more the doctor is willing to look at the where’s and whys of an assignment, the better he or she will get at understanding nuances that could mean the difference between good assignments and those that aren't so good.

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The 'Where' and Why' of Locum Psychiatry  

http://www.vistastaff.com/ - Psychiatry is a unique form of medicine at many levels. Doctors deal with patients not considered mainstream,th...

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