In my last article I highlighted the importance of departmental knowledge to gauge each department’s need. The second most important questions to ask your doctors to allow you to improve staffing in their department is: ‘How do you find working here?’.

The aim of this is to build a realistic view of the department that can be converted into the messaging you will use to attract new locums. 

When attracting new locums giving a true sense of the department is key, this will mean you find doctors who are well-suited and prepared for the environment leading to increased fill rates and retention. 

The feedback will likely range from the technical aspects of the role, through to tips about tricky IT systems, right down to the best place to get a cup of coffee from during a night shift. 

Knowing your doctors' views allows you to build a realistic view of what shifts will be like for a locum and provides the opportunity to pre-emptively address challenges that have been faced by locums previously before introducing new doctors to the staff bank. A common example of this would be ensuring all bank doctors have computer log-ins, know where to go at the start of their shift or are aware of the consultant on call. 

These are all simple things that can be built into the pre-shift booking process and drastically improve the experience for current staff and locums. 

Imagine having to hunt for the locum taking over from you at the end of your shift when you all you want to do is go home because no one told them where to meet you? 

The challenge most trusts face is finding the time to garner this engagement from doctors and placing all this information in an accessible location. Messly helps by spending time in each department and collecting feedback surveys at the end of every shift completed by a locum doctor. This feedback, as well as useful information about the shift is available for other Messly doctors to read, actively shared with doctors booking shifts and available to the trust. Just like with TripAdvisor, if doctors can see that your hospital is easily accessible and a desirable place to work they are more likely to want to join your staff bank and book shifts!

Finally, providing doctors with the opportunity to be heard and having visible actions based on this feedback (including collating it on Messly so new locums arrive prepared!) from our experience, will do wonders for moral. 

In my next post I’ll talk more about challenges as well as how to promote the positives you hear from doctor feedback!

If have any questions or would like to know more about the work Messly is doing please feel free to contact me at abrar@messly.co.uk.

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