NIGHT SHIFT: Better payment for sleepless nights?
Working at Night can be physically demanding...
Nights shifts and out of hour’s emergencies are an unloved reality of the medical profession. Whilst some practitioners are still battling on to provide their own out of hour’s (OOH) emergency care, the OOH services of dedicated emergency centres are becoming increasingly popular.

Experts estimate that nearly 20 percent of the working population in developed countries work night shifts.

So, how does this affect your position as a Locum?

Alpha Impact has an increasing demand from our clients to provide cover for veterinary emergency care centres and out of hour’s clinics. This involves night shifts, on call or “on site” duties as well as weekend and bank holiday shifts. The working hours are usually longer than regular shifts and covering everything from eight to twelve hour shifts.

The work load varies significantly between the clinics. Some clinics require the clinician to work more or less consistently during this period. Other, less frequented clinics do provide a “sleep over” facility for the clinician, allowing resting times between call outs and regular checkups of the inpatients.
Weekend duties in some centres will require the Locum to be on site for up to 48hrs at one time.

We also advise our Locums not to swap around too often between day and night shifts as this can be too tiring hence creating an ineffective working rota and therefore an income loss in the long run.
Health concerns are also a risk for regular night shift locums and research indicates that shift workers to be at higher risk for accidents, sleep disorders and psychological stress due to daytime demands. Similarly neglecting one’s own needs such as malnutrition can also in turn effect ones normal bodily functions.

Payment rates for these inconvenient hours vary significantly and are very often subject to negotiation. As a guideline, the daily fee for your services should be between 25-100% above your normal daily hourly rate.

Only some of the well established service chains have a fixed payment policy that allows only little flexibility, in particular for more experienced practitioners.

Most of these vacancies are sole charge positions with a qualified veterinary nurse working alongside the vet.

Alpha Impact provides Locum cover for private and corporate clients throughout the year. Our “hot seasons” are bank and school holidays and the largest demand is during the summer holidays and the Christmas season.

A minimum of two to three years of practical experience and an above competence in the management of emergency internal medicine and surgery (RTA, gastric torsion, splenectomy etc.) is required.

Practitioners considering locum work during these periods should contact us well in advance.

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