At FourteenFish we are often asked if we have any tips for Locums undergoing Revalidation. Whilst the following is aimed at GP Locums I hope the following should still be useful for hospital doctors, nurses and others.
If you are not working in the same place regularly it can be challenging finding colleagues for feedback. Remember you can ask colleagues that you have worked with in different organisations and these should be a spread of clinical and non-clinical (a rough guide is 50% of each). I certainly found receptionists were key to my day being easier when I was working as a GP locum and you can certainly include them as part of your colleague feedback.
Getting patient feedback can also have its challenges. For those in a practice out of courtesy I would recommend letting the practice manager know and you might have to do the exercise over several sessions and practices. These can still be collected and posted independently if you ask reception. Some Locums might only do home visits or telephone triage and in these cases we have worked with doctors to supply self addressed envelopes to patients with questionnaires. If they are doing feedback on you after the event then a covering letter explaining the process and when you saw them is key.
For all doctors it is important to use a feedback tool that meets GMC criteria. As it is recognised locums score lower in both colleague and patient feedback (www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6212) it is especially useful for locums if you can get peer comparisson so your results are compared to other Locums.
It is recognised that Locums (and other doctors in less usual circumstances) may not be able to meet the usual minimum responses for colleague and patient feedback. This should always be documented and discussed with your appraiser as to the reasons. We always advise that you check with your appraiser and designated body before finishing the feedback exercise with less than minimum responses to avoid having to repeat the exercise.
Quality improvement activities (QIA) have new challenges when you are not working in the same place all the time. Wessex LMCs have produced a really fantastic guide for locums and sessional GPs for revalidation. It includes examples of straight forward audits and templates that GPs can use for quality improvement ideas and even has a list of what a locum should take to surgeries. Examples of QIA material includes keeping a list of the next 10 antibiotic prescriptions you do then later reviewing to see if you have met local prescribing guidelines. Follow up of interesting or challenging cases, two week referrals or admissions all also provide potential QIA material but require you to ask practice manager or patient permission - in my experience this was always met positively and certainly I found it professionally rewarding.
Many practices are very happy for you to join them for significant event meetings, CPR training etc. and I found joining a small group invaluable as a locum to share learning and tips. Practice based small group learning is a initiative very popular in Scotland and gaining traction in England where groups get together normally monthly to study particular subjects. The website www.pbsgl.co.uk is worth a look (we provide the website so we would say that but all the feedback is positive).
Fish TV feature
We were most recently asked for GP locum tips for revalidation from Dr Sian Mew. We then used this question as a spring board for this blog and for episode 3 of Fish TV.
Dr Duncan Walling
CEO (Founder), FourteenFish