The Benefits (and Myths) of Locum Work

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It is true that each locum experience is unique to itself however, if you are new to the locum field it is easy to gather information about the nature of locuming that is not entirely accurate.  Being pharmacy locum recruiters, we have identified some of the most common misconceptions we encounter and decided to shed some light on them. 

Myth 1: The Great ABN Myth
Perhaps the most common misconception we hear from those new to the locum work is that they believe they have to get an ABN. This usually draws great concern when the corresponding responsibilities of ABN’s get mentioned: Tax, superannuation, GST and invoicing. It can make some question whether they are a Pharmacist or an accountant. 

We are happy to announce that no, you do not have to get an ABN. 

If you are sourcing locum work independently, owners and employers can put you through their payroll if you ask. This will mean you need to keep tabs to ensure you get all relevant PAYG summaries at the EOFY. If you are getting your work through Raven’s, we are the only pharmacy recruitment agency to offer a full payroll service where we process your wages as an employee of Raven’s, allowing you to work at as many different pharmacies as you like and receive just the one PAYG summary at EOFY. 

Myth 2: Locum work lacks challenge
If you are seeking a challenging role that will grow and develop your pharmacy career and are under the impression you can’t do this as a locum, you wouldn’t be 100% correct. 

Locum work demands adaption, quick thinking and people skills with customers and staff alike. Every pharmacy is different, whether it be the dispensing software, the processes established by the pharmacy, the professional services offered or the type of patients that walk through the door. 

Furthermore, there are positions in larger staffed pharmacies that have the resources to provide training for longer term locum roles. We have seen community Pharmacists establish and grow their aged care and hospital pharmacy experience through the means of locum work. 

Myth 3: Accommodation is terrible
We are under no illusion that if you travel out to the middle of Australia that you are going to be staying in the Hilton hotel, but you will often find a lot more horror stories of accommodation posted online than anything about positive experiences but that’s not to say there aren’t any. 

We have had locums stay in reputable hotels such as Meriton and Quest when staying it more major regional towns. Some stay in Air BnB’s, there has been the odd beach house (the dream), the owner’s own house or private property and yes, some motels. 

With labor licensing laws coming in across Australian states, accommodation of contractors are being more carefully monitored under this legislation to ensure there is a set standard. It is also easy to prevent an accommodation nightmare by asking and researching the accommodation on offer before accepting the position. We find more often than not, employers try to be as accommodating as possible given the location & selection of what is available – a well-rested locum is a happy locum working in their pharmacy.

Myth 4: Instability of work
Raven’s have multiple locums that rely on locum work as their sole form of income and do extremely well. Of course, the more locum work you do and the larger your network grows, the easier it will be to find work. 

The level of work available to a locum is dependent upon the scope of their availability. The length of locum blocks & the geographical scope that you will consider will significantly impact how much work you will find.  

The demand for locums will always be exist as long as permanent staff have sick days and annual leave. Currently rural pharmacies are experiencing extreme difficulty in securing Pharmacists for their permanent roles and thus are acquiring locums to fill the staffing shortage. Consequently, roles can range from 1 day to 6+ months in cities and rural locations, enabling you to fill up your working calendar as much or as little as you like. 

The Benefits of Locum work
It’s important to remember that as a locum you have control over where and when you work. Locum work is as interesting, challenging, diverse and exciting as you decide to make it. You will find that developing a solid and reputable network will put you in good stead to be avoiding some of the horror situations that have contributed to the above myths being consider common occurrences. 

By Belinda Jeffries, Locum Recruitment Consultant at Raven’s Recruitment.


At Raven's Recruitment, we’ve been specialising in Pharmacist recruitment for a long time, so we have expert knowledge in the space. If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity to work as a locum pharmacist or want a permanent job, then look no further - get in touch with our Recruitment Consultants now.