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Making the leap : Becoming a Locum Occupational Therapist - an interview with Mr Heedayat


As an individual that enjoys cultivating a continuous learning experience and strives in achieving personal growth, Mr. Heedayat, a former Occupational Therapist of a restructured hospital in Singapore came to Pacific Rehab & Therapy back in 2017 in hopes of seeing what service gaps were needed for the population and community. Serving as an Occupational Therapist and Team Leader, Mr. Heedayat has been able to engage his curiosity across several areas of practice and has found empowerment in managing his finances whilst working with Pacific Rehab. In this interview, Mr. Heedayat talks about combating the myths that locums have disadvantages and highlights the positive attributes that locum therapists can have when it comes to embracing a “you only live once” (YOLO) lifestyle.

Do You Think Working as a Locum is Monotonous?

a. No, I’ve never seen working as a locum to be monotonous because I make each of my locum experiences (contracts) a valuable one. How do I do this? By being involved in all sorts of services, work processes, ideas, and program implementation. By believing in achieving personal growth, you can cultivate a continuous learning experience that wipes out any monotony other locums may say they experience.

Is There Job Satisfaction in Locum Work? Are There Any Specific Moments Which Have Been Remarkable For You Within this Line of Work? If Yes, Please Share Your Special Moment.

a. Absolutely, if you choose to be involved. I was involved in an ADLs program when I was attached to St. Andrews (an in-patient facility). I gave ideas on how the programs should be run and how many sessions a patient should be involved in. It was a good experience in coming up with proper budgeting, workflows, and coming away with knowledge and tools from other occupational therapists in the process.

Is It True That There is a Lack of Financial Stability of One Works as a Locum? Or, on the Contrary, do Locum Jobs Empower You to Pursue Greater Things in Life Due to the Greater Flexibility it Offers While Not Compromising on Income?

I cannot specifically say that all locums are paid better than others or are better at managing their income. What I can say is that when it comes to financial literacy and how you make your own investments, you have a lot more freedom and flexibility. You do have to contribute to your own CPF and manage your own expenses, but this empowers you to be mindful of your finances. I attend talks and seminars by the SGX Academy for financial management, and so I have become more empowered and mindful of planning my retirement, managing my money, and overseeing my investments.

What Do You Think Are Important Considerations for When One Transitions from Full Time to Working as a Locum?

a. Adaptability. You need to be able to adapt to different working environments and what their workflows and working processes are, quickly.

b. Finance Management. While locums are paid well, sometimes better than full time staff, you need to manage your finances well. Yes, you have greater flexibility and you can move around more without compromising your income, but you have to manage the income well.

c. Cultivate Your Learning Experiences. Always update yourself with the latest seminars and courses or talks that interest you within your field (or a prospective field) as these will keep you engaged and stimulated mentally within the working environment.

d. Build Relationships. Always network with others. This includes your colleagues, peers, and bosses.

e. Understand Your Why. Understand why you want to become a locum. If it is just for the money so you can support a “you only live once” lifestyle, then understand that the work may feel monotonous if you are not in it for the working experience. The advantage of working as a locum is that it is free from work politics, (most) drama, and projects. The key is to fill your workday with active fulfillment. What Do You Like Most About Working with Pacific Rehab?

a. One of the issues that a lot of people experience when contracts come to an end is an inability to move straight into another position. This tends to cause panic. However, being a part of an agency like Pacific Rehab allows me to relax when my contract ends, as I am able to share which areas of practices I would like to explore going forward with Pacific Rehab and they are able to match those options for me.

Other than this, I enjoy going to the yearly get togethers, as these allow me to meet other locums from other disciplines and have lighthearted conversations with one another. Every year I am able to get to know other locums better and they, me.

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Pacific Rehab & Therapy provides fuss-free staffing solutions to community clinics, hospitals, specialized schools, nursing homes, senior care centers, and certified therapist organizations. If you are an allied health professional, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or speech and language therapist who wants more flexibility in your working hours and employment positions or just want more time to raise your young ones, Pacific Rehab & Therapy has open positions available. So, apply today!

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