Impatient for lift-off?

Considering locuming but only new to the profession of sonography? We regularly receive enquiries on this and thought it would be useful to share our insights! The short answer…it is possible, but slightly more nuanced than you might expect.

 

The past is the past….

Historically speaking, locuming as a new graduate wasn’t on the menu for all the obvious reasons – it takes years to become an experienced sono. However, as a result of the current skills shortage in ultrasound, doors are starting to open and many employers are needing to consider all options available. 

 

Considerations that might be of interest 

It’s not likely you’ll be eligible for top locum rates if you are a new graduate. More on this in a coming blog, but locum rates are derived from numerous factors, including skillset and experience level, and the ability to work independently (and often under pressure) while maintaining a high quality of work – all things that take time to develop.  Locuming early in your sonography career may also limit the site options available to you; not all hospitals or clinics will have capacity to support a green sonographer (or, be willing to pay high rates for a sono at this level).

 

What are we looking for, you ask?

From our perspective, there’s lots that goes into figuring out if it’s appropriate and where would be best for someone starting out in the locuming game.  Initially, we take a squiz at your CV, understand your professional background and consider the context of your training.  We are also always keen to hear what sort of pathologies you have already been exposed to in the course of your training. While all of this clinical detail is important, we also feel it is vital to get a good understanding of your self awareness and expectations you have for locum life.  At the end of the day, new grad or not, someone who is eager to help, respectful and values integrity is going to be a good fit for locuming.  #attitudeiseverything

 

Tips if you’re wanting to test the waters

  • Have your CV up to date, be honest with your gaps and generous in your scan time estimates.
  • Talk with someone who’s gone before you as a new grad locum or locum to get a feel for what it might be like.  
  • Stay connected: use different society member resources, keep in touch with your sono pals and previous work colleagues.
  • Get in touch with us and discuss your own individual situation, skill set (including gaps), preferences for locations to get a reading on what the options might be. We chat with locum sonos and sites needing locums on a day to day basis and know intricately the potential AND pitfalls that exist for sonographers locuming early in their career. If you have more questions, we’re always happy to discuss your individual situation and provide some guidance.  

 

Experiences from a sono prior

Locuming early in my career has come with a lot of challenges, but overall I think it will help me to better my skills as a sonographer. The biggest challenges are adjusting to a new workplace, new ultrasound machines and new department protocols whilst still learning and gaining my confidence in scans. But I feel like once you do get your feet in the department, then these challenges are actually what helps to make you a better sonographer. You have the opportunity to learn from so many different people in the workplace when you move around. Then you are able to take little bits of knowledge from each person to develop your own strategy and protocol when scanning patients that works for you. There is so much to learn in the world of ultrasound, and when you move around it gives you more of an opportunity to branch out and improve your knowledge. 

Advice for other early careers sonos when locuming is to trust your own gut. Do everything you can to the best of your abilities, and make sure you ask lots and lots of questions. Engage with the team and try to make friends with the team outside of work. Make sure you admit when you aren’t 100% sure of how to do a particular scan. Most people are happy to help when you admit that you aren’t sure. It is a lot easier to ask for help at the beginning, rather than to try and fix a mistake afterwards. EM – Locum sono