Welcome to my first Simply Locums blog. Here you can read about my own journey into locuming and learn about some rather unexpected benefits.

My journey with locuming

I had been a full-time, small animal vet for 15 years when I decided I needed a change. I loved my job but had begun to feel that my life was not my own, that I had lost full control and direction. Lower back problems pained me. I poured my heart and soul into my job, leaving me mentally and emotionally drained.

I took a career break and had some experiences that opened my eyes to life outside veterinary. I had lost my hobbies and my uniqueness somewhere along the line. Taking a break helped me refocus my life, and career, in a way that I just couldn't have done with my head down focusing on day to day life.

During my career break was when my relationship with locuming and Simply Locums began. Occasional locuming gave me a financial boost when I needed it and acted as a security blanket. I knew if I needed work I could quickly and easily find it through word of mouth or through simply locums. I travelled and volunteered a lot, and locuming easily fitted around this.

I found my previous charity role hugely rewarding, and didn’t want to give it up. So I now work part-time. Locuming is still part of my life, slotted in and around other commitments and my permanent role.

So what are the benefits of locuming?

We are all individuals, so will find different benefits to locuming, and also different challenges.

Professionally, It gives me more clinical freedom than my charity work does. It is easier to keep up to date with new medicines, techniques and referral opinions. It has taken me out of my comfort zone, boosting my confidence in every aspect of my life. I love meeting new people. So a rather unexpected bonus is making new friends. I have become more involved in local and wider veterinary communities, partly due to my locum work. Sharing and discussing best practice means we are all always learning. On the flip side, I have enjoyed mentoring and coaching those with less experience. When a new person comes into a team, it can shake things up a little, bringing energy. Practices always seem grateful. Appreciation, although not sought, is hugely gratifying. Many vets and nurses looking for permanent roles use locuming to try practices out, searching for a good fit.

On a more personal level I can now fit in weekly exercise classes, and pilates to help control my back pain. This is something I found impossible in full-time work. I am starting to develop hobbies again, and having more control of my diary means I can still travel occasionally. Locuming tops up my part-time wage, helping to fund it. I know people that locum for a few months, then travel for the next. Just another way of making locuming work for you.

Some people choose to work full-time as a locum, at which point locuming often has a financial edge on permanent work. For me, it is more about flexibility. I can work less, freeing up time for other projects, and that elusive work:life balance.

I have embraced my multipotentialite personality, working as a professional blogger, and a hobby travel blogger. I am working towards a diploma in personal performance coaching. Daily variation is part of what attracted me into veterinary in the first place, and my weeks are more varied now than ever before. While I have respect for specialists, that is not my path.

My experiences over my career break, as well as locuming, coaching, and writing, have made me a much better vet than I was before. I will strive to be the best GP vet I can be. But I now realise this not only means through academic development, but also through personal development. We are more than just vets and a happy, well rounded, and fulfilled person = a good vet. Locuming was initially an experiment for me, but now it’s a regular part of my life.

Perhaps my personal journey resonates with you, or maybe your situation is totally different. Either way I hope you can see that whatever your reasons, there are always benefits. The joy of locuming is that it can be tailored to fit most situations. Now with people like Simply Locums for support and advice, there has never been an easier time to take the plunge.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. My experience so far has been largely positive, but of course there are always challenges to overcome. Join me for my next blog coming soon, Locuming: taking the ruff with the smooth. Kate Cavanagh