How to start locuming as a Vet Surgeon or Veterinary Nurse

If you’re a final year Vet nurse or Vet surgeon qualifying soon and looking for information on locuming as a vet, read on:

Firstly, this is meant as a basic guide for those that have no prior experience as a locum vet or locum vet nurse. We will be covering the basic principles here, so if you’re already a locum you will already know. Skip to another more relevant blog article 🙂

From our experience, we often get vet nurses going straight into locum roles after graduating. Locum vet surgeons as new grads are very uncommon. We certainly don’t recommend it as an agency to put fresh vet grads out as locums.  It becomes common after 12-18 months for vets to consider locuming as an option in between permanent jobs. And, of course, some choose to follow this as a long term career choice.

How does the process work?

So when you decide to start locuming as a vet, you will be usually be working on short – mid term roles. These vary from 1-2 days to 1-2 months. Practices require cover for a multitude of reasons which can be sickness or holiday cover, maternity or injury. More recently they require interim cover while they are recruiting for a permanent member of the team.

You can either source the work yourself or more commonly use an agency to do it all for you. As a Veterinary Recruitment agency we would rather you use us! But of course you are free to work with whoever you want.

Often, we get locum vets and locum vet nurses working with multiple agencies to ensure a comprehensive covering. I would advise not more than 2-3 agencies as you will get bombarded with roles and it can end up being more hassle than it’s worth. Pick a few that you’ve had good experiences with and stick to them.

One important point that I must mention here is some agencies will tell you that you are only allowed to work through them once you have signed up. That is not the case. You are free to work with who ever you want, whenever you want to.

Finding you work:

When locuming as a vet, you will discuss when you are available, how far you can travel, how long you’re available for, and based on this information will look for roles for you that are best matched.

Depending on the time or year, how far you can travel will affect how many roles are available. Think of it like a pool of jobs – the more flexible you are the larger the pool. If you will only work within 2 miles from home and you don’t want on call or weekends, the pool of locum jobs will be smaller. However, if you’re happy to travel anywhere and stay in the practices accommodation you’re pool of jobs is huge.  (Additionally, if you live in London there will be far more practices in a 2 miles radius then if you’re in the country.)

Timesheets and Umbrella companies

Ok, so now you’ve found your locum role and agreed to start what now? We will send you a confirmation email clearly stating all of the details of the job. This will include the location and contact details of staff at the practice, your hourly rate etc.

You will be provided a timesheet for to complete and get signed by a senior member of staff each week. This is an important step which is your responsibility. This is the agreement between you and the employer of how many days or hours you have worked each week. And this forms the basis of what you will be paid from. The work you do this week will be paid the week after.

Usually agencies like the timesheets by Tuesday lunchtime which gives them time to raise invoices and process the payments for you by the end of the week. We run our payroll on Thursday will allows for any last minute corrections to be made before the weekend.

For more information on umbrella companies see this specific blog article which is far more in depth.

We are very happy to talk to you about locuming as a vet so please do call us with your questions 🙂 Why not spread your wings…

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