The career of a speech and language therapist (often referred to as an SLT or SALT) is challenging, but richly rewarding. It is also a career that allows you to work in a variety of different specialties.
With so many areas to choose from, it can be advantageous to try out different aspects of the profession. This will help you gain additional skills and learn new techniques. It can also add diversity and experience to your practice.
An ideal way of gaining this extra knowhow is by working as a locum speech and language therapist. This is a career choice that boasts plenty of positives and can help widen your knowledge and professional horizon.
Of course, in order to take on temporary or contract jobs, you’ll need to join a locum SLT agency.
Choosing your SLT locum agency
Whether you’re an experienced locum SLT looking for a new agency or your new to the SLT locum scene, it’s vital that you choose an agency that can match your needs and help you develop as a medical professional. Of course, it’s important that you feel valued as an individual too.
So, before you take on any locum SLT jobs, here are the four things to look out for in a speech and language therapy locum agency.
One of the most important questions to ask before joining any locum agency is ‘Will I be offered the right support?’ If the answer is anything other than ‘yes’, that particular locum agency might not be the right fit for you.
The support should be evident right from the start. Ensure you are going to be well cared for and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure you can speak to a member of staff if necessary. Remember, while technology may be advancing at a rapid rate, nothing beats having your query handled by a human.
Some agencies will provide you with your own dedicated placement officer or recruitment consultant who will be responsible for finding the right type of work for you. They will also be on hand to provide support and assist with any issues you might be facing. Much like how a speech and language therapist develops a rapport with a patient, so too will your placement officer develop a lasting rapport with you.
2. Control your own career
One of the advantages of being a locum SLT is that you can work shifts that suit your lifestyle. With that in mind, it’s important to choose an agency that understands your needs and desires and is willing to help you take control of your career.
The control aspect can be one of the major factors behind many SLT professionals choosing to pursue locum work. If you are not content with how you are operating in your speech and language therapy role, it could be time to take command of your working life and do things your way.
If you have a desire to do things your way, it’s critical that your locum agency understands this and can help you live out your career ambitions and find locum SLT jobs that suit you. Yes, other agencies may be able to find you the quantity of work you’re after, but are these the right jobs for you?
Payment falls under the control bracket too. While you may not have chosen to become a speech and language therapist for the accompanying salary, it’s always nice when you’re paid promptly for the work you have carried out. That’s why it’s advisable to choose a locum agency that can promise to deliver your wages regularly and at a time that is convenient to you.
3. Career advice
While the feeling of controlling your own destiny is fantastic, it’s important to be able to rely on your locum agency when you’re in need of career advice. Without the right advice, you could leave yourself feeling unsure on which jobs to take next.
Think of your career as a car and you’re the driver. Yes, you’re able to drive wherever you please, but if you’re not sure where you’re going, you’ll soon become lost and frustrated. Now imagine your locum agency is the Sat Nav. By ensuring you have the right guidance system, you’ll be able to reach your destinations more quickly and with far less stress.
The right locum agency should be able to offer the best and most suitable jobs for you, rather than simply setting you up with jobs that aren’t the right fit. And if you find yourself unsure on what position to take next, your agency should be able to offer advice.
There are plenty of positives when it comes to locum work. From being able to mould your work around your lifestyle to enhanced pay rates, life as a locum speech and language therapist certainly has its perks. However, much like topping a freshly iced cake with a decorative cherry, it’s always nice to have that little bit more.
If you’re keen to get value out of your locum agency, ascertain what benefits they can offer. Look out for exciting extras like next-day payroll, first sight of locum work and free training courses. It’s worth keeping an eye out for incentives, too. Some agencies offer lucrative reward schemes for recommending your friends and colleagues.
Find out more
If you would like to learn more about becoming a locum speech and language therapist with Medacs Healthcare, or if you’re keen to discover the wide range of locum SLT jobs we offer, contact our dedicated SLT team via email or call 01785 256 605 during office hours.
Medacs Healthcare Partners with The Joyful Doctor to Offer Self-Help Webinar
Medacs Healthcare Continues Work with Cavell Nurses’ Trust
Life As A PIP Assessor: Interviews With Three Nurses
Reflecting on a Global Pandemic - A Month in the Life of a COVID-19 Agency Nurse