On Saturday 10th April, we held our second Advisory Board (virtually this time) with a selection of our healthcare candidates. The aim of this event was sharing information on actions we have taken since the first Advisory Board (pre-pandemic), as well as finding out what other challenges our healthcare professionals have faced due to the effects of working through the pandemic.

During the day we delved into more detail to address the numerous challenges, both personally and professionally, that have affected our candidates during the pandemic, and to evaluate how we can continue to support them.

Some of the words used by our candidates to describe their feelings over the past year were:

  • Lucky and scared
  • Tired and scared
  • Once in a 100-year experience
  • Challenged and grateful
  • Scared and exhausted
  • Adjust quickly
  • Shifting sands (wards, team rotas, covering gaps) & exhausted
  • Overwhelmed and deflated

Knowing the pandemic would’ve also had an impact on people’s personal circumstances, we asked what areas people felt had been worst affected, with family life and travel being voted as the two biggest disruptors to their lives and careers. Anxiety was also mentioned by one attendee and another said it was the first time they had ever been unemployed in their career.

Main Takeaways

The overall sentiment from the day was exhaustion, both physically and mentally, with our candidates feeling pushed to their limits working in healthcare during the pandemic. There is often a feeling that the most difficult jobs are left for locums, and they are not as valued or appreciated as full time employees, often also not getting some basic perks, as well as being worried about lack of job security.

On the flip side, there was some positive feedback about things that have changed due to the pandemic. It is widely seen as a positive that tribunals are now held virtually, as these now tend to be a lot less stressful, as well as meetings and appointments being moved online, which can also be seen to be effective and time-saving. Clinics have also mostly moved to phone calls now, which is easier and more efficient, and widely believed to be here to stay.

We learnt so much from the day and have come away with more action points to continue working on, to help do all we can to make our locums lives easier. We were pleased to hear that all attendees felt we had supported them more through the pandemic, and we will continue to offer tailored support to enhance our candidates’ journey with Athona.

Would you like to be involved in our next Advisory Board? Contact us here to find out more.