“Locum work…A land of opportunity.”

When I move to Paris in the next couple of months I will be doing locum/agency/temporary microbiology work.

This is a necessity in order to pay the bills (and the extortionate Parisian rents!), but the decision to do locum work as opposed to taking a full-time “permanent” position is very much a personal choice.

Professionals who work as locums are often looked down upon by the respective Healthcare establishments, sometimes being viewed as having inferior competence, motivation and commitment. In short, they are not to be encouraged…

I strongly disagree. There are clear advantages in locum work for both employers and employees. For employers it allows them to assess different employees who may eventually decide to take up a more long-term position at the institution.

However the real advantages I believe lie with the employee and the opportunities that locum work offers. For microbiology scientists and clinical microbiologists it gives them a fantastic opportunity to experience different laboratories to see different systems in operation and thus learn what works well and what doesn’t work so well. It also offers the chance to build up numerous professional contacts in different laboratories and hospitals. In addition, the locum employee retains the flexibility to choose when and where they work.

There are obvously a few downsides to locum work. These are mainly the lack of security of continuous employment and also missing out on undertaking long term development or research projects within the laboratory.

However for me, in Paris, I think locum work is going to work out just fine. I will probably start off working from time to time in London or elsewhere in the UK. However as time progresses and my French (slowly) improves, hopefully I will get the opportunity to work in Paris itself.

I am really looking forward to doing a period of locum work, meeting new people and having new experiences. I say “period” here, only because it is assumed that I will at some point go back to full-time permanent employment. However I may find that after discovering the freedom that locum work provides, it might be difficult to go back to the “default”.

Who knows what the future will hold…


Locum is short for the Latin phrase “Locum Tenens”, literally translated as Place Holder.

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