The Beyond the Practice Interview Series has been created to give you an insight and advantage into the professional side of anesthesia through interviews conducted with leaders in the industry. In this interview, Anesthesia Account Director for LocumTenens.com, Liz Benedict, shares some of her knowledge about working as a locum tenens.
BagMask: What are some benefits of working as a locum tenens?
Liz: Sometimes it helps for finding a permanent position. Anesthesia providers can make sure they actually like the facility and they can get a feel for all the crazy politics and people before accepting a permanent job – kind of “try before you buy.” That way you are not being tied down to the hospital or to certain groups. Another advantage is only having to give a 30-day notice whenever they want to change sites or change location, so it creates lots of options for travel.
BagMask: Since working as a locum tenens gives you the ability to move around frequently, what can anesthesia candidates do to help streamline the whole process of getting a state license and credentialing?
Liz: Keep up with your case logs during your practice. It’s becoming a requirement to present your anesthesia case logs for most facilities, so either document all your cases or request case logs from the facility before you actually leave the site because a lot of times tracking those down can be a headache.
Also, maintain copies of the different malpractice carriers for your assignments. Keep up with that information from assignment to assignment because it is usually something that is more difficult to obtain on the back end of things, especially as the years go by. During the anesthesia credentialing process most facilities require malpractice information going back 10 years.
Those would be the two main things. If they are doing locums, our company will do the licensing and do as much work on the credentialing side as possible for you, and we do scan and keep track of all documents. So if they are missing something from years ago and they were working with us for during that time period, we usually have everything on file. It makes the process a lot easier and smoother.
BagMask: What can an anesthesia provider do to make themselves more marketable in the locums industry?
Liz: The more flexible you are with the type of schedule, the type of facility, the type of cases that you’re able to do, the more options you’re going to have.
BagMask: What are some red flags that you personally look for when working with a prospective locums candidate?
Liz: Not being honest. If someone fails to mention that they have a red flag that comes up or something that is found in a background check, that’s a red flag to us that they may not be disclosing other information or being upfront about everything.
BagMask: Out of curiosity, if a candidate does have a red flag like a malpractice claim in their history, what can they do to make sure that doesn’t prohibit them from getting the job?
Liz: Disclosing everything upfront. If there is full disclosure, it doesn’t look like you are hiding anything. Providing detailed explanations on what happened regarding the case is the best course of action.
Sometimes people over-explain things. Really, you don’t need to overdo it. You just need to state the facts. Again, as long as it’s disclosed upfront, there’s a lot of places that will work around it.
When you disclose it on the back-end, it looks like you’re trying to hide it, or people perceive it as if you are trying to sneak it by. If you just disclose it upfront, they can run it by the facility, make sure it’s not an issue, and then everybody’s on the same page and you don’t run into any roadblocks during credentialing.
BagMask: Are there any cautionary tales on what not to do when working as a locum tenens?
Liz: Don’t go in and try to change a facility. There are some people that think they’re going to come in and save the world, and “this is how the drugs need to be monitored, this is where you need to order things from, this is the new equipment that you need to bring in.” Most facilities use locums because either A) they need vacation coverage or B) things are chaotic and they’ve lost staff. They’re working to get things corrected. Going in and trying to tell them how to fix things will not go over well. They’re bringing you in to help provide anesthesia coverage.
BagMask: This is my final question. I like to ask everybody this one. What is your hope for all the anesthesia job-seekers out there?
Liz: For them to find a position where they feel like they’re happy and enjoy going to work. I believe when you’re happy in your environment and engaged, you will provide better patient care.