Working locum tenens means taking control of your own schedule. With locum tenens, you’ll be able to choose which assignments to take, where to work, and for how long.
Geeta Arora, one of our physicians, expressed her satisfaction with locum tenens in a letter to The Hospitalist: “Suddenly, I could make my own schedule, decide where and when I would work, and have the flexibility to leave any given hospital if I felt as though I was being pushed into practices that would compromise patient care and safety.”
William Gruss, MD, similarly states on MedScape: “When I am on, I am on, and when I am off, I am off. This is a nice change from when I was in private practice, or even as an employed physician with an outpatient setting, where I was getting paged frequently by the answering service.”
Taking advantage of locum tenens opportunities is particularly beneficial for providers just beginning their careers. According to Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP, and Senior Vice President of Medical Education for the American College of Physicians, “A locum tenens may be just the ticket to experience an urban, rural, solo, small group, multispecialty group, or a hospital-associated practice before actually beginning your career. A locum tenens allows you the opportunity to experience ‘risk free’ the lifestyles associated with various geographic locations before deciding upon your ultimate location.”
If you’ve completed your medical training and remain unclear on which direction to take, working locum tenens may help you gain clarity. Alguire adds, “A locum tenens may be most appropriate for physicians who have not yet finalized their plans for further specialty training or practice. It provides an ideal opportunity to experience different types of practices in various parts of the country without significant monetary investment.”
Provider burnout is a common problem within the healthcare industry, and working locum tenens has proven to be a successful solution. With a range of options in specialty, location, and duration, locum tenens offers a unique variety that keeps your career fresh and exciting.
Dr. Arora says, “I get to pick and choose how often I work and, most importantly, when I do work, it is an absolute joy.” She continues, “I can happily say I am able to give my patients the care that they deserve without feeling burnt out.”
Locum tenens assignments are available around the country! By working locum tenens, you’ll encounter new populations, engage with diverse communities, and experience administering care in different ways. Locum tenens assignments can additionally allow you to better fulfill your personal and professional goals; as you become a seasoned locum tenens physician, a wider range of opportunities will be available to you both domestically and abroad.
Dr. Arora shares, “I’ve traveled around the world and continue to do so.” She adds, “I have been able to travel to Haiti for volunteer work and am traveling to Nepal shortly for medical relief work — and I have been able to dive deeply into integrative holistic medicine.”
Extensive Professional Network
By accepting locum tenens assignments around the country, you’ll connect with far more fellow providers than you would otherwise. Better yet, the professional relationships you develop while on assignment will extend beyond your short-term stays.
Creating a network of peers, mentors, and friends will prove helpful when looking for a permanent position — if you later decide to move in that direction — or other locum tenens opportunities.
If repaying medical school debt quickly is a high priority, working locum tenens is an effective way to manage that debt. Any lodging, transportation, and malpractice insurance premiums associated with your assignments are already paid for, leaving you with more money. Even if debt payoff is not of your concern, locum tenens work can provide supplemental income.
The National Association of Locum Tenens Organization (NALTO) has said, “Physicians right out of training who have planned ahead can have locum tenens engagements lined up and begin practicing immediately. When deciding which opportunities to consider, be sure to let your recruiter know if earning the highest possible income is more important than geography. Pay rates do not vary all that much from agency to agency, but they can be significantly higher in remote locations where the need for physicians is greatest.”
Smooth Transition to Retirement
If you’ve reached the age of retirement but you’re not quite ready to leave the medical industry behind, working locum tenens can provide a smooth transition from full-time work to full-time retirement.
For those who are nearing the end of their careers and no longer want to work full-time — but still want to remain occupied — locum tenens opportunities are an excellent solution.
Physicians who work locum tenens find it especially fulfilling. Not only will you treat an impressive range of patient cases, you’ll be working in a facility where you’ll truly be needed. Additionally, as a locum tenens provider, you can focus more directly on the patient and their needs.
As Val Jones, MD, describes, “You have no administrative or teaching responsibilities, coding/billing hassles, or staff management issues.” With those frustrating factors removed, you can spend more one-on-one time with your patients, administering the best care without any distractions.