How to survive 12 hour locum shifts


As a locum GP in the UK, you may find yourself working 12 hour shifts on a regular basis. These long hours can be physically and mentally exhausting, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make it through with ease. Here are some tips for surviving 12 hour locum shifts as a locum GP in the UK.

Plan ahead

Before your shift, make sure you have everything you need, such as food, water, and any medications you may need to take. Pack a healthy lunch and snacks to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes and toiletries if you’re staying overnight.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep before a long shift is crucial to help you stay alert and focused. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep the night before your shift.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for maintaining your energy levels and focus throughout the day. Make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks that can make you feel tired and sluggish.

Take breaks

Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help prevent burnout and fatigue. Step outside for a few minutes of fresh air, stretch, or grab a bite to eat. This can help boost your energy and relieve stress.


Exercise can help boost energy levels, improve mood, and reduce stress. Take a short walk during your breaks or find time to do some light stretching or yoga.

Stay organized

Keeping a clear and organized schedule can help you manage your time effectively. Make sure to take detailed notes during your consultations to help you keep track of your patients and their treatments.

Stay connected

Keeping in touch with friends and family can help you feel more connected and reduce stress. Call, text, or video chat during your breaks to stay connected and have a support system in place.

Find a support group

Joining a support group of other locum GPs can be a great way to share experiences and advice. You can find these groups on social media, through professional organizations, or by contacting your local medical association.

Take care of yourself

Don’t forget to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Eat well, exercise regularly, and make time for self-care activities such as meditation or reading a book.

Learn to say no

It’s important to set boundaries and know your limits. Don’t be afraid to say no to extra work or overtime if you feel like you’re reaching your limit.

In conclusion, surviving 12-hour locum shifts as a locum GP in the UK requires preparation, self-care, and effective time management. By following these tips, you can maintain your energy levels, stay focused, and avoid burnout. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your patients.

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