Preparing For Life Working As A Locum OT

Are you considering becoming a locum OT? Let’s break down 7 things you’ll need to consider about life as a locum occupational therapist – from debunking the myths to choosing the right agency.

Common myths

First, let’s debunk the common misconceptions. Locum Occupational Therapy is often misunderstood. 

You’ve probably heard the following:

  • ‘There aren’t many job opportunities in the UK’
  • ‘Agency workers aren’t committed to the job’
  • ‘Locum work is only a short-term fix’

None of these are true! In fact, it can be a rewarding and surprisingly secure career choice.

7 things to consider

1. Locum OTs are in high demand

The demand for OTs is increasing, and locums play an important part in that. They’re often recruited to cover maternity leave, holidays, sickness, training and unexpectedly large workloads. Hospitals and private sector organisations continually face these issues on a daily basis, creating an exceptional demand for qualified professionals.

2. Get the same benefits of a permanent occupational therapist role

Just like permanent roles, locum roles offer sick pay, holiday pay, flexibility, and experience within an array of specialist areas. Plus, competitive financial rewards!

Many OTs make a full-time career out of locum work. Others treat it as a temporary opportunity until permanent employment is found. Or, the perfect way to strike a good work/life balance.

 3. Not all placements are the same

Not all work placements are the same. Preparation before starting a new post is essential. If you’re entering into a new area of OT, you should refresh your knowledge of this speciality area to grow your professional development. If in doubt, ask your agency for help.

Check out our resources for Locums – from training and compliance to help with getting paid and earning CPD. 

4. Rigorous compliance checks

Working as a locum follows the same rigorous compliance checks as a permanent position. You’ll need up-to-date immunisations, criminal record checks and mandatory training, such as basic life support and manual handling.

Your specialist recruitment consultant should discuss your requirements in detail to gain a better understanding of your career aspirations. Remember, it’s your responsibility to manage your own professional development, training and career path, but your recruitment agency should support this.

Explore our specialist training and support for Locums

5. Salaries & responsibilities of Locum OTs

So how much can you earn? A locum OT can earn between £22-37 per hour. For this, you’ll be expected to manage your own finances and career. For instance, you’ll likely have to manage your own timesheets, professional development and pension scheme (if required).

Fancy some extra cash?

If you’re happy with your healthcare recruitment agency’s service, most will let you earn money by simply referring a friend or colleague. 

Discover Athona’s refer and earn scheme. Help your friends land a new role, and earn a cash bonus!

6. Get CPD support

Working with an agency that offers CPD support helps you with funding your own personal development. Alongside this, you should also keep in regular contact with The Royal College of Occupational Therapists and try to attend some of the many conferences that are on offer.

Access a personal growth allowance of £100. Find out how to earn CPD.

7. Choose an agency that values relationships and listens

Above all else, it’s vital to choose the right agency. Locum agencies are often the target of negative press; you may have heard of some with an aggressive approach or ones that promise the earth and fail to deliver. 

However, there are a number of agencies (like Athona) that value relationships and listen to their candidate’s requirements.

Let’s summarise

  • Locum work is often misperceived
  • Preparation is vital
  • Reflect upon and assess your competencies
  • Take ownership of your professional development
  • Choose the right agency
  • Manage your finances
  • Stay and be involved in your profession

Ready to get the ball rolling?

If you’re feeling confident that a locum OT job is right for you, take a look at our Occupational Therapy Jobs and register your CV today.