We caught up with Melbourne-based locum, Thi, who’s just started using Locumate to find work.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a community pharmacist. I’ve been a full time pharmacist since 2008, and then last year I started doing some more locum shifts.
What’s the best thing about being a locum?
The flexibility of hours for my needs and for my family. I changed from full-time to locum work, purely because of one reason, and that’s to suit my timeframe for the children and for the family. I found that with a full-time job, it’s pretty hard to take days off even if you plan ahead. But as a locum, if you plan ahead, it’s perfectly doable.
What’s it like being able to choose your own hours and choose the pharmacy that you work at?
It’s great. I’ve never had this feeling before because as a full time employee, you turn up at the set time and can’t really change it. As a locum, it can be a daunting experience to start with at a new pharmacy, because you don’t know where things are, or who the other staff might be. But it’s a matter of getting used to it. Now I find that it’s quite good. Sometimes people might be afraid and sometimes people just thrive on it. So, I guess I’m the second one.
It definitely sounds like you’re thriving! Tell us how you heard about Locumate?
I first heard about Locumate in 2021 through a friend of mine. And he told me, “Oh, look, give this a go. It’s a new platform. They’re just getting things ready and they should be up and running pretty soon, by the end of 2021.” So I put my name on there, registered and did a few shifts.
Why did you decide to give it a go?
When I read online, the Locumate website mentioned some things about being easier for the locum, for processing all the invoicing, looking for shifts, planning for shifts and so on. So I wanted to try it. The way that I normally locum, is basically to have a list of days and times that are available for you, then try to match all of that availability to different shifts.
Now with Locumate it’s different. At the beginning, you set up your rates, the distance you’re prepared to travel and your availability. Whatever shifts come up are filtered to match you. It’s shortened the amount of time that I have to spend to get the shifts and the hours that I want.
You mentioned processing invoicing. Tell us about the benefit of the automatic payment feature.
It’s lovely. I like it. I reckon, it’s probably one of the best features that Locumate has. Usually, if I normally do four or five shifts a week, in five different pharmacies, and it could be five different owners or five different locum organisations, then I’ll have to finish the invoice, make sure everything on there is all correct, and make sure I send it to the right person. Some shifts have different timeframes and different rates, so it’s confusing. You start to make mistakes and you send the wrong things. Then I have to follow up to make sure that it’s all good.
Locumate has online invoicing where as soon as the shift is complete, you’re reminded to do the invoice online. And all you need to do is click a few buttons and it’s done. It’s cut out a lot of the behind the scene things that I had to do.
How much time do you think that saves you?
I reckon if I do roughly about four or five shifts a week, I’d nearly spend an hour doing it all.
And what do you do with that time instead?
Of course, spend it with the children and the family. That was the very reason I chose to be a locum!
Last question, Thi. What’s your advice to someone thinking about joining Locumate?
It’s free to join. So go ahead! It’s saved me a lot of time with invoicing and with shift selection.