Before starting a new locums assignment, many providers have the same questions: What kind of support will I have while on site? What types of equipment will I have to work with? Will I receive a thorough orientation? Weatherby wants you to have a great locums experience, so we find out as much as possible about the quality of a facility before we ever send a locum tenens provider there. Here are five ways Weatherby works to ensure we’re sending you to a quality location whenever you accept a locums assignment.
1. We do a thorough background check
Whenever a healthcare organization contacts Weatherby to request locums assistance, our recruiters immediately begin researching the facility.
“First you look at their history,” says Sam Gaber, a senior surgery consultant on the general, vascular, and trauma surgery team. “A background check and credit check is very important. Then I start asking questions about the number of beds, if they have any ICUs, and gather the basics of what they’re going to be needing in respect to support.”
Gathering this type of information about the facility can help avoid unwelcome surprises for the locum when they arrive and helps ensure the assignment will be a good fit.
2. We ask a lot of questions
Consultants at Weatherby are trained from day one to ask any potential locums employer a lot of questions — so we can tell our providers what to expect while on assignment there.
“We try to talk to as many decision makers in the medical facility as possible to get a full understanding of what their needs are, what their staffing models are like, what support staff is available, etc.,” says Matthew Gillis, a learning and development specialist who trains Weatherby consultants.
In addition to gathering as much information as possible from the healthcare organization directly, consultants also learn more about each facility by reading patient reviews, looking at Glassdoor reviews left by employees, and even soliciting feedback from providers who’ve worked there in the past.
“I’m trying to understand the facility as if I were trying to get a job there myself,” says Gillis. “It isn’t just asking questions, but also understanding the ‘why’ behind the answers.”
3. We pay attention to red flags
At times, something comes up while a consultant is researching a facility that gives them pause. While this isn’t necessarily a reason to not work with an organization, it does warrant further research to ensure a locum tenens provider isn’t surprised when arriving for an assignment.
Gaber gives the example of a rural facility that wanted a general surgeon but he found out they didn’t have an anesthesiologist on staff. “That’s a good example of a red flag,” he says, “because if they don’t have that kind of support, when we send out the job, we need to disclose that they want a general surgeon who can perform sedation, or who can supervise the nurses and support staff who will be doing the anesthesia.”
Whenever Gaber has a concern come up during his conversations, he turns to those around him to get different perspectives. “I’ll talk to my colleagues, client consultants, my leaders, or senior consultants from other teams who’ve been around a long time,” he says. “That depth of experience is very helpful in knowing how to respond appropriately to potential red flags.”
4. We ask for feedback
Once a provider has started an assignment, Weatherby consultants frequently check in to find out how the assignment is going. This feedback allows us to address any potential problems as soon as they occur. In addition, we ask all our locums providers to complete a formal evaluation after the end of the assignment.
“We review all the feedback we receive from our providers and take any concerns seriously,” says Tiffany Weeditz, manager of quality assurance. “Sometimes it’s not something detrimental to the point where we’d stop working with the facility — maybe a doctor will say, ‘I didn’t feel like I had an adequate orientation’, or they felt like they didn’t have time to learn the EMR system ahead of time.”
“Those are things we can take back to the facility and rectify fairly simply, and then it’s a better experience for the next provider,” she says. “We rely on physicians giving us feedback because it’s the best way to help everyone improve.”
5. We follow up on concerns
If a provider has more serious concerns — about patient safety, for example — the issue is immediately directed to the quality management team for review.
“Our team will call the provider to get more details, and then we reach out to the facility to talk through those concerns,” Weeditz says. “Sometimes it’s major things like they feel the equipment at the facility isn’t up to date, and other times it’s more about a poor match between the facility and provider, like if somebody from a big city goes to a rural area and they don’t have a specialty backup they’re used to having.”
“Once the investigation is completed, then we’ll decide, based on the client’s feedback and the provider’s feedback, if we should continue staffing there. We have to ask, ‘Is this a safe environment for providers? Are we setting them up for success when we staff there?’ If the answer is no then it’s an easy decision to make,” says Weeditz.
Finding the right fit
Weatherby consultants research all the organizations they work with — not only to ensure a safe work environment, but also to find the best match for every provider and facility. Knowing what to expect before starting an assignment can make a big difference, and Weatherby wants to set up every provider for success.