A common misconception about the locum tenens industry is its incompatibility with marriage and family relationships. While establishing a career consisting of temporary assignments often appeals most to recent medical school graduates, single physicians, and physicians approaching retirement, working locum tenens is equally beneficial for physicians with young families.
Due to its non-permanent nature, locum tenens work can appear unattractive to physicians who have married, had children, and “settled down.” In actuality, the short-term aspect of the locum tenens industry should be its strongest selling point for family-oriented physicians. Working locum tenens provides unique advantages compared to permanent positions, offering unbeatable schedule flexibility, extended periods of uninterrupted family time, and no obligation to former practices.
YOUR career on YOUR schedule.
Taking a permanent position at a clinic or hospital can mean inconvenient shifts, 24-hour call, and missing out on soccer games, school plays, and weekly date nights. By working locum tenens, when and where you work is entirely up to you.
Having a young family is what led one of our doctors, Dr. Johnson, to try working locum tenens. She says, “The flexibility that locum tenens provides is what ultimately motivated me to consider it seriously. As a busy mom and a busy physician, working locum tenens has allowed me to do my job while still being heavily involved in my children’s lives. I’ve been able to change my schedule throughout my career as my children’s needs have evolved.”
Another doctor of ours, a psychiatrist, opted for locum tenens work so he and his wife could spend more time together doing what they love: camping. From September to May, he accepts assignments around the country as his wife teaches school at home. During the summer, the two travel around the country in their RV, setting up camp in an array of landscapes.
Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend assignment or an assignment spanning many months, there will always be an option available to match your preferences.
Wherever you are, really be there.
Working in a permanent, full-time position can be physically and emotionally draining; you’ll usually be on call, and when you’re not, you’ll be at your practice treating patients. These arrangements can regularly pull you away from your family at a moment’s notice, making it difficult to spend uninterrupted quality time together.
Working locum tenens, however, can provide you with the balance you need between career obligations and family responsibilities. Through locum tenens assignments, your time spent at work is completely dedicated to your patients, and your time spent at home is completely dedicated to your family. In fact, it’s not uncommon for locum tenens physicians to take extended breaks between assignments, fly home on their days off, or select assignments with a one week on/one week off structure for this very purpose.
One of our physicians, Dr. Christensen, mentions how wanting to be more engaged with her family is what motivated her to begin working locum tenens exclusively. She says, “Before I worked locum tenens, I missed a lot of important moments in my kids’ lives. I missed their games, their recitals, and even my daughter’s first steps!” She adds, “I realized later on that I didn’t want my kids to grow up and have their memory of me being that I worked a lot. Now, I am more aware of my children and what goes on in their lives. I feel much more connected to my family.”
Keep in touch.
During your time away, make the most of modern technology to keep your marriage and family relationships strong. With platforms like Skype, Facebook, and Marco Polo on top of your smartphone’s built-in capabilities, your absence will hardly feel like one at all.
- It’s a date! Plan daily video chats using FaceTime or Skype for face-to-face conversation in real time. If a day comes where your schedules don’t align, exchange video messages through the Marco Polo app and send a response on your downtime.
- Better together. Is there a TV show that you and your spouse enjoy watching together? Give it a watch, call each other up, and discuss your favorite parts. Do you read to your children before bed? Flip through a book together through video chat. Even with some distance, you can still do things together with the people you love.
- Stay involved. About to miss a piano recital or basketball game? Watch it live through live-streaming features offered on Facebook and Instagram. Afterward, you can help your children with their homework through video chat.
- Quick updates. If you simply don’t have the time for a sit-down session, try updating your family with quick snapshots through Snapchat when you can.
- The classics. If you’re not terribly tech-savvy, a good old-fashioned phone call or text message will do the trick.
Stay close to home.
You don’t have to travel far to work locum tenens; let your recruiter know that you’re interested in local assignments only.
Locum tenens assignment, or family vacation?
If circumstances permit, try bringing your family along on your next locum tenens assignment! Though it will require an additional cost, keep in mind that you’ll be earning an income in the meantime. While you work, your family can explore national parks, museums, and attractions unique to your assigned location; on your days off, you’ll be able to join them! Better yet, at the end of each shift, you’ll get to reunite with your family just as you would at home.
A few years ago, one of our internal medicine physicians brought his wife and young children on a summertime assignment to a small coastal town. Coincidentally, the county carnival was taking place while they were there. While he worked, his wife and children enjoyed playing games, riding rides, and getting their faces painted. After his shifts, he joined his family in attending the carnival’s evening events, like the community cookout and a firework display. What easily could have been a standard assignment became a fun summer getaway and treasured family memory.
If there are any places you’d be interested in visiting with your family, inform your recruiter! Even if only for a portion of your assignment, inviting your family to join you on your endeavors is a great way to create cherished family memories and teach your children about the world that surrounds them.
No strings attached.
Once you’ve completed your locum tenens assignment, you’re done. Unlike what would typically be required of you in a permanent position, you have no obligation to the demands of your practice outside your assignment window. When you leave the practice, all matters are left there with it. No calls, no follow-ups, and no disruptions.
Want to learn more about how working locum tenens can benefit you and your family? Contact us today at 855-537-8353. Let one of our experienced recruiters help you find exactly what you’re looking for.