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3 Steps to Surviving Volatility & Delivering Service to Physicians

By: Brooke Thompson, Senior Vice President, Customer Operations | Updated on July 14, 2022

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Healthcare never stops. It’s not only a 24-hour business. It’s a constantly evolving ecosystem that serves as a moving target for anyone who thinks they can predict its next iteration. Over the past couple of years, we have experienced change and stress. Uncertainty and upheaval. But we have been undeterred and continued to deliver for our patients and clinicians.

This volatility hit particularly hard in the locum tenens space that relies on insuring clinicians can make it to their designated assignment in a safe and timely manner. As part of our offering, we have a full-service customer care and travel team that handles clinician travel and lodging needs. A large majority of LocumTenens.com’s clinicians utilize this service, coupled with our credentialling and licensing team, providing a comprehensive clinician experience that makes working locum tenens easier than ever before.

The travel industry, that we rely on so heavily was put to the test when COVID-19 hit, quickly followed by staffing shortages of their own.. Flights were canceled. Travel was shut down. Our business pressed forward. We have an essential role in the health of our country. While others were being asked to stay home, our clinicians traveled to new locales and cared for critically ill patients.

It took a concerted effort on behalf of the customer care and travel teams at LocumTenens.com to make this happen. We’ve always provided a 24-hour emergency service, but we found more urgency and needs compiling after traditional work hours. As a result, we changed how we work.  We added additional weekend coverage shifts for our travel specialists, so they were available when traveling clinicians needed them. Making this change to our traditional work hours ensured clinicians received the service they needed.

So how do we survive a volatile market and continue to deliver results? 3 things come to mind.

  1. See the big picture—It is easy to have a siloed approach to your role. For instance, travel is a very specific portion of the clinician experience, but we never look at it that way. We always take a look at how travel impacts the clinician’s entire experience and find ways to make a positive impact. By integrating services and being a full-service provider of travel, credentialing and licensing, we are able to deliver better results to our clinicians so they can feel comfortable starting a new assignment.
  2. Know your audience—It is important to know who you are working for. While patients are at the heart of everything we do in healthcare, we need to invest in our clinicians so they can deliver better outcomes. That means understanding their needs. We did this during COVID-19 by shifting our offering. Instead of an on-call schedule, we scheduled full-time travel specialists to work when clinicians were most likely to have issues, including after hours and on weekends. By understanding our audience, we can better meet their needs.
  3. Adapt to the current landscape—What is been done before is not enough. Healthcare is shifting around us, so we need to adapt accordingly. That means constantly evaluating our strengths and weaknesses, so we can find ways to improve and better serve our clinicians. By embracing flexibility and nimbleness, we can make a real impact on the business and the service our clinicians receive.

The change continues. Travel has picked back up, which is providing a new set of challenges for the team as rates and availability are strained. We did not break before and we won’t now. We are continuing to thrive in a consistently volatile world because our clinicians and patients are counting on us.

About the author

Brooke Thompson

Senior Vice President, Customer Operations

Brooke began her career with Jackson Healthcare, LocumTenens.com's parent company, as a college intern in the summer of 2002. In 2004, she was hired by the Customer Care department at LocumTenens.com and swiftly moved up the management ladder. She was promoted to director of the Customer Care division in 2006 and to vice president in 2011 and senior vice president in 2018. As Senior Vice President of Customer Operations, her responsibilities include quality management for the company and oversight of the Customer Care department, CVO, Licensing and Travel. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management with an operations management specialization from the Georgia Institute of Technology.