Why I love locuming: Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster


08 Apr 2020
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Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster loves locuming. Originally based in Auckland, the plastic surgery registrar started locuming in Australia in March 2019.

Since then, she’s taken time to travel (both in Europe and Australia) and even did a three-month filming stint with TVNZ as the star of reality TV programme The Bachelorette. If you’ve seen any of the show or one of her interviews, you’ll have seen that she raves about locuming and the lifestyle it enables.

Speaking from her current placement in Canberra, Dr Lesina told us about the ups (and downs) of locuming and why she just might locum forever

Why did you decide to start locuming? 

I was moving countries, from New Zealand to Australia, because I wanted to travel a bit more and meet new people and I was looking for something more flexible. Locuming was perfect.

I didn’t really know anything about locuming then, but I knew it would give me the flexibility I wanted. And it has! Travel and freedom are important to me. It has been good to travel around Australia for jobs, to see different parts of the country that I have never seen before.

Then, in-between jobs, I could just do my own thing. You get to choose when you want to work, so I travelled overseas when I wanted to.

Is there anything you’ve found challenging? 

Hmm, the only hard thing, or perhaps a downside, is that you need to plan your year beforehand because it can be hard waiting for jobs. Then again, I took the job I have now very, very last minute and that has worked out perfectly! It came at the perfect time and it is such a cool job.

I think it is a credit to you guys {Medrecruit}, in that, if I haven’t had a job for a while I call up and say: “hey, hey, hey, I need a job right now!”. Locky is my {Solutions Specialist} and he looks for a job hard-out, finds one and then I take it… it’s just so easy. He’s so onto it and you guys are so accommodating.

Another challenge is all the admin stuff! Learning how a new computer system works, learning where everything is and how everything works – every hospital is so confusing when you first enter it. I have a list of five to ten things that I ask on the first day, like how do you order scans? Where is the…? How do you book an operation…? but every speciality will be different.

It takes about one to two weeks until you get to know anything and then it is sweet. The downsides are very small… to be honest, I don’t understand why everybody doesn’t locum!

What are the perks of locuming? 

It’s sooo right up my alley. It’s very suited to my lifestyle, it is exactly what I want.

I know this sounds bad… but they don’t expect a lot of you so if you go in and do a really good job, everyone is so, so grateful which is nice.

How about the freedom and travel – has that lived up to your expectations? 

One. Thousand. Per cent. I took three months off to do The Bachelorette – I couldn’t have done that if I wasn’t a locum, because what other job would let you take that much time off?! We did 2.5 – 3 months filming and then all the publicity afterwards… it all takes time. I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t locuming.

I like it too much… it’s not sustainable forever… or is it?! I’ll do it for the foreseeable future, I don’t have plans to stop anytime soon.

Have there been any stand-out moments? 

I LOVED Bunbury, in Western Australia. I had never been to Western Australia before and not thought about going before.

I didn’t research it properly, so I didn’t know a lot about where I was going. The town is just the most beautiful little place right on the coast with such great weather, there were lots of great beaches and the team were really nice. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful, scenic and for there to be so much to do in a little town.

And this one! This placement is great. Sometimes, it is all about the people you work with and I’ve been really lucky. I’ve not had a bad group of people yet. But here, I am having so much fun and all the people are so cool. I’m really enjoying it.

Do you have any advice for other doctors considering locuming? 

Always have it as a side option. Don’t feel like you have to be on the grind 24/7. We’ve all been there and done that and people will always have you back if you have locumed for a while and you want to go back. You can do as long or as short as you want.

Another thing is to do with something we doctors so often don’t do… locuming is a really good opportunity to live your life a little bit. If you want to take a bit of time out and you don’t know how to, or you think it is not financially viable or you’re worried you’re going to miss medicine or not retain your knowledge, locuming is a really good option. You can take time out and locuming is there to help you do that.

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