What Exactly Is A Locum Hospitalist, And How Do You Become One?

January 23, 2023  | By dailycare

Locum hospitalists play a critical role as they can fill in for practice providers or clinicians who cannot work.

However, you might not know much about this medical career and wonder what a locum hospitalist is and how you become one.

We’ve put together this guide to explain what a locum hospitalist is, how you become one, and the benefits of working in this under appreciated field.

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What a Locum Hospitalist Is

A locum hospitalist is a valuable resource for hospitals that need to fill gaps in coverage due to unexpected absences, such as vacation, illness, or maternity leave. These temporary physicians provide continuity of care for hospitalized patients and play a vital role in ensuring that the patients receive the appropriate care and treatment.

As a locum hospitalist, your duties include assessing and treating patients who come to the hospital. You would evaluate the patient’s condition, develop a diagnosis, and create a treatment plan. You would also be responsible for monitoring the patient’s progress, making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan, and communicating with the patient’s family and other healthcare providers.

In addition to treating patients, you would also be responsible for coordinating with other healthcare team members. This coordination includes working with nurses, physical therapists, and other specialists to ensure that the patient receives the most appropriate care and treatment. 

You would also be responsible for keeping accurate medical records and communicating with other healthcare providers to ensure that the patient’s care is coordinated and effective.

One of the key benefits of working as a locum hospitalist is the flexibility it provides. You can choose to work as much or as little as you want, allowing you to balance your career with other commitments such as family or personal pursuits. 

Additionally, working as a locum hospitalist will enable you to gain experience in different hospital settings. This career can be a great way to gain exposure to various medical practices and patient populations.

Overall, locum hospitalists ensure patients receive the best care possible. These temporary physicians provide continuity of care for hospitalized patients. In addition, they are a vital resource for hospitals that need to fill gaps in coverage.

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How You Become a Locum Hospitalist

Becoming a locum hospitalist requires a significant investment of time and effort. Still, it can be a gratifying career path for those dedicated to providing quality care to patients.

The first step in becoming a locum hospitalist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a scientific or pre-med field. This degree will provide you with the foundation of knowledge that you’ll need to succeed in medical school. After completing your undergraduate studies, you’ll need to attend an accredited medical school to earn your medical degree.

After graduating from medical school, you’ll participate in an internship and residency program in areas like emergency medicine or internal medicine. This hands-on training will give you the experience and skills you’ll need to become a successful hospitalist.

Once you have completed your internship and residency, you’ll need to become board certified. You get board certified by taking an American Board of Physician Specialties exam. Board certification is a rigorous process demonstrating your knowledge, skill, and commitment to providing quality care to patients.

After completing your education and becoming board certified, you can start working as a locum hospitalist. Most locum hospitalists work through staffing agencies, which find assignments for them at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Staffing agencies typically handle all the details of your assignments, including scheduling, travel arrangements, and housing.

Becoming a locum hospitalist requires a significant investment of time and effort. Still, it can be an enriching career path for those dedicated to providing patients with quality care. 

With the proper education, skills, and certification, you’ll be well-prepared to serve as a temporary physician in a hospital setting. You’ll be able to fill in for regular physician staff and provide continuity of care for hospitalized patients.

Related: Per Diem vs. Locum Tenens: Which One is For You 

The Benefits of Being a Locum Hospitalist

Being a locum hospitalist can offer several benefits, including:

  • Flexibility – Working as a locum hospitalist allows you to work as much or as little as you want. This flexibility will enable you to balance your career with other commitments, such as family or personal pursuits.
  • Variety -Working as a locum hospitalist allows you to gain experience in different hospital settings and work with diverse patient populations. This experience can help you to expand your knowledge and skills.
  • Competitive Compensation – Locum hospitalists can command higher pay rates than permanent hospitalists. This is because they are in high demand and vital to ensuring continuity of care.
  • Travel and Adventure – Many locum hospitalist positions are in rural or underserved areas. So it can be a great way to see different parts of the country and even the world while providing valuable medical care.

Please note that the above are general benefits of being a locum hospitalist. It may vary depending on the location and facility.

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A Locum Hospitalist Can Be an Excellent Career

A locum hospitalist is a temporary physician who cares for patients in a hospital setting. They fill in for regular physician staff when they cannot work and play a vital role in ensuring continuity of care for patients. 

Becoming a locum hospitalist requires significant time and effort, including earning a medical degree and certification and completing an internship and residency program. 

However, working as a locum hospitalist can offer many benefits, such as flexibility, variety, competitive compensation, and the opportunity for travel and adventure. 

It is an in-demand career path that can provide a great way to gain exposure to different medical practices and patient populations.

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