Most healthcare facilities have robust plans for onboarding permanent physicians who join their teams. A good onboarding strategy results in physicians who feel welcomed, understand what is expected of them, and know where to turn if they have questions so they can provide the best possible care for their patients.
Though locum tenens doctors may only be at your facility for a short time, they still need the same tools and training when they come to work for you. Without proper training, these physicians may not be able to provide the same level of patient care that you expect from your full-time staff. Here are a few best practices for onboarding a locum physician.
Planning before the assignment.
The onboarding process starts before the new physician steps foot in your facility. Make the provider’s first day a success by laying a good foundation.
- Notify staff of start dates and assignment lengths.
- Share details about the new physician, this may include a photo, bio, or interesting details.
- Send the physician copies of key policies and procedures as well as a job description for the position.
- Email the provider a map of the facility, calling out where to park and which entrances to use
- Assign someone to greet the doctor on his or her first day.
- Assign a go-to person in the department who can answer questions and act as a guide.
- Ensure photo badges have been printed and that computer logins have been issued.
Focus on the first day.
While orientation sessions range in length from a few hours to a full week, making a great impression the first day is key to helping your provider have a great experience for the duration of the assignment. Here are a few tips for making the most of the day:
- Offer a facility tour, pointing out restrooms, cafeteria, and break areas. Make sure to stop along the way to introduce the physician to key employees.
- Give the physician a detailed tour of the department where she’ll spend the majority of her shifts.
- Show the provider where to find supplies, equipment, forms, and sample medications.
- Provide a hospital telephone directory, medical staff roster (preferably with photos), list of area pharmacies, and social service agencies.
Once your new physician has the lay of the land, she needs to be introduced to key people, policies, and processes.
- Key staff members. Introduce the locum tenens provider to the staff members she needs to meet right away.
- EHR and more. Show the provider how to use the electronic health record, prescription services, and scheduling tools. 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 check voicemail.
- 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.
- 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 few weeks after that. 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. If you create a good experience for a locum physician, he or she is more likely to return the next time you have an opening, saving you time and money on training and orientation.