To err is human. Most of us have our own collection of horror stories involving travel—forgetting key belongings, remembering some version of “the stove is on” as you’re about to board your flight. And even when you are prepared, sometimes bad luck can still find you.
When you partner with VISTA, we make sure you’re prepared to head out for any locum tenens work, no matter how long you’re away. In conversations with locum tenens clinicians (new and seasoned), our recruiters are often asked a common question as a long-term assignment nears. “Can you think of anything I’m forgetting?”
Here’s our advice:
1. Don’t Rush Packing Up
Have you ever left for a big trip only to realize en-route that you forgot to pack about twelve important things, and also might have left a load of laundry in? Maybe you have a nightly prescription you forgot during your morning packing. If you’re taking off for an extended assignment, it’s always a good idea to build in a few hours to run through your checklist of what needs to be taken care of.
In addition to packing, you’ll want to feel comfortable leaving your home unattended. Cover the following, especially if no one will be checking in regularly:
- Lock up all doors, windows, cars, etc.
- Set a light on a nightly timer to avoid a dark home
- Take belongings indoors as seasonally appropriate (e.g., if temperatures are dropping, disconnect garden hoses, take in patio furniture, etc.)
- Do a sweep of your house, garage, backyard, any place you store valuables
- Check your fridge and pantry, and clear out anything perishable
- Take out garbage and clear garbage disposal
- Unplug electronics
2. Think About What Services to Pause
How long will you be away for your locum tenens assignment? If only for a few weeks, pausing things like gym memberships and mail delivery might not be worth it. A friend or neighbor could take in your deliveries, and your gym membership might not be flexible. But if your assignment is longer, these options may make sense to explore.
3. … and What Services to Start
Seasons change quickly. It might not be snowing when you leave… but it could be by the time you get back. Or maybe leaves are accumulating on your back porch (and making it obvious that no one is home). Does your lawn need to be tended while you’re away?
Just like it’s practical to think about what services to stop while you’re on assignment, it’s also smart to think through what services may need to be added. Another question to ask as we head into winter months: Can you leave the heat off? Is your thermostat set low enough to keep your energy bills from skyrocketing, but high enough that your pipes won’t freeze?
4. Don’t Leave Problems Unaddressed
You might think your roof will be fine while you’re away. But as just mentioned, seasons change quickly, and a small problem now can mean big trouble down the road if it’s not taken care of. In addition to your roof, be sure to check your smoke detectors (are they working?) and your sump pump (if you have one).
Can you think of anything we forgot? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re ready to look for a new assignment (and another reason to travel), visit our job board! For more FAQs of locum tenens clinicians, click the button below to download our free eBook.