Locum tenens physicians may be working at your facility for only a few weeks or months, so the onboarding process might seem like an extra hassle. To ensure that these providers are successful and deliver quality care, however, proper onboarding and direction is essential. Below are several tips for a good orientation.
Prepare for your locum tenens provider’s first day by:
- Telling the entire hospital staff via email or memo that a new provider will be working at the facility, including the start date and the total time he/she will be on assignment
- Sharing a photo and short bio of the provider in the employee newsletter or via email so staff members can get to know him ahead of time
- Sending the physician copies of key policies and procedures as well as a job description for the position
- Emailing the provider a map of the facility with markings for places to park and entrances to use
- Assigning someone to greet the doctor on her first day
- Assigning the provider a go-to person in his department who can answer questions and show him around
Focus on the First Day
Whether your orientation lasts only a few hours or a full week, your locum tenens provider’s first day is your chance to make a great impression and prepare her for the assignment. Here are a few tips for making the most of the day:
- Offer a facility tour, stopping along the way to introduce him to a few other employees and put him at ease
- Get him a photo badge from security and get coffee or a snack from the cafeteria
- Give the physician a detailed tour of the department where he’ll spend the majority of his shifts
- Show the provider where to find supplies, equipment, forms, sample meds and even keys needed to access certain supply cabinets
- Provide a hospital telephone directory, medical staff roster (preferably with photos), list of area pharmacies and social service agencies and local phonebook
Onward with Onboarding
Once your provider is familiar with the facility, be sure to include these elements in the orientation:
- Staff. Introduce the locum tenens provider to the staff members she needs to meet right away. If in doubt, ask her who she feels she needs to meet as part of the orientation.
- Computer system. Show the provider how to use the electronic health record, prescription services and scheduling tools, and have the IT department take care of assigning passwords in advance. Be sure to leave names and numbers for several employees who can troubleshoot and answer tech questions as they arise.
- Phone system. Even if the doctor will only be around for a few days, she’ll need to know how to place and transfer calls, put someone on hold, and retrieve voice messages.
- Medical records. Make sure the locum tenens physician understands your requirements for completing and signing off on medical records and who to contact to retrieve patient records after hours or on weekends.
- Safety and infection control. Physicians are familiar with hospital safety and infection control procedures, but spend a few minutes reviewing policies and standards that may be unique to your organization.
- Billing and coding. Make sure the locum tenens physician understands your billing and coding philosophy and procedures, and provide a cheat sheet for commonly used codes and charges, if needed.
Keep in Touch
Once the locum tenens physician has completed the formal orientation process, it’s important to have your go-to person check in with him or her once a day for the first several weeks and then periodically for the next couple weeks afterward. Even after you’ve answered all of the critical questions, simply asking “How are you doing?” can help the physician feel at home and ensure that the assignment goes smoothly.
Download our orientation checklist, and read “How to Protect Your Organization When Using Locum Tenens Physicians” for more information.