9 Tips to Make the Most of Your Downtime During Locum Tenens Assignments

9 Tips to Make the Most of Your Downtime During Locum Tenens Assignments

Entrepreneurs and healthcare providers have something in common: limited downtime. Caring for a business startup can be as time consuming as practicing as a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. On average, entrepreneurs log an excess of 60 hours per week while establishing a new business. Healthcare providers also book close to 60 hours per week, which includes an average of two hours to update electronic medical records for each hour of treating patients. For both groups,  hours not committed to work (or sleep) are precious and valuable.

In, “Nine Things To Do In Your Downtime To Propel A Successful Career,” members of the Forbes Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) listed their preferred activities that enhance their personal and professional lives. Below, we’ve adapted their suggestions for physicians and advanced practice providers to enhance their locum tenens experiences.

  1. Take Time to Think
    When you are busy moving from one task — or patient — to another, there’s little room to let your mind contemplate topics other than what is in front of you. YEC entrepreneurs, however, insist free, unencumbered moments are when creative and innovative ideas are most likely to take form. For locum tenens professionals, downtime after shifts naturally offers a window to relax and let your mind ponder possibilities because those hours are not automatically committed to the demands of everyday homelife.
  1. Upgrade Non-Work-Related Skills
    YEC members admit it is easy to fall into an all-work-no-play pattern, which is why they stress the importance of pursuing non-work-related activities. The uncommitted time during days off or after shifts on locum tenens assignments invites physicians and advanced practitioners to entertain new hobbies or interests. Try a new workout. Indulge in tasting different cuisines. Attend a local music performance outside your favorite genre. Sign up for an online class in a subject you have always been curious about.
  1. Read More Books
    Spending your evening engulfed in a well-written story serves as a great decompression practice and can prep you for a restful sleep.
  1. Join Activities Outside Your Network
    Living in a new community for locum tenens contracts accommodates efforts to broaden your interests simply because you can experience the environment around you. What better opportunity to push yourself into trying something you’ve never done before? Who knows what new passions you will discover.
  1. Be a Curious Customer
    The YEC member behind this recommendation describes a curious customer as someone who takes note of the various stimuli of an experience. A good example is to eat a meal not just for nutritional value, but to observe the smell, taste, texture, and your overall reaction to the food. The same approach can be applied to any downtime endeavor. In fact, you can be a curious customer on the job, too. Take note of various practice or procedural nuances by your peers while on locum tenens assignments.
  1. Give Back to Your Community
    Locum tenens and community involvement complement each other. Physicians and advanced practitioners who adopt the career alternative full time have the schedule freedom to block off time between contracts. This creates bandwidth to volunteer for your children’s school, at your place of worship, or for a community project. Also, you can find avenues to volunteer while on short- or long-term assignments. Look for local chapters of service organizations to which you already belong.
  1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
    Everyone can benefit from a few moments of quiet reflection, but healthcare professionals who are susceptible to burning out really can appreciate the positive effects. You don’t need large periods of uninterrupted downtime to engage in this YEC suggestion. Stealing a few moments to practice this skill can help with refocusing. Off the job, a lack of interruptions also presents free moments to devote yourself to this self-care practice.
  1. Improve Your Physical Health
    After putting in a full shift, releasing a bunch of endorphins from a good workout can feel invigorating. Locum tenens assignments serve up possibilities to explore various forms of exercise outside the typical gym. Check out local hiking/biking trails or find activities you may not have available closer to home, such as a curling club, rock climbing, or surfing.
  1. Plan Your Work
    Schedules for physicians and advanced practitioners function differently than traditional business weeks. Oftentimes, you know what hours you will be on shift or call duty days or weeks in advance. That said, this YEC tip can still benefit locum tenens professionals. Take a moment to look ahead. Check your calendar and brief your All Star Healthcare Solutions recruiter on your availability and/or preferred dates for upcoming assignments.

Let an All Star Healthcare Solutions consultant help you get started on your locum tenens journey. Call us at 800-928-0229, or contact us online.