What Is Locum Tenens: A Complete Guide For 2023

January 4, 2023  | By dailycare

Locum tenens is a form of healthcare staffing that was started in 1979 in which a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant works short-term in a healthcare facility or practice. At the time it was conceived, it was thought to provide a cost-effective way to ensure continuity of care and fill staffing gaps in rural healthcare settings. 

Locum tenens practitioners are experienced professionals who can quickly assimilate into a new environment while providing high-quality care. This form of staffing is becoming increasingly popular due to its flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

What are the Reasons Providers Choose Locum Tenens?

The locum tenens lifestyle offers several advantages to doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants that are not often found working in a permanent position. Here are a few advantages that providers working as locums frequently state:

The Opportunity to Earn Extra Income

A great deal of the appeal of locum tenens practice stems from its competitive pay rates, lack of overhead, and free malpractice insurance. Even permanent employees often augment their income with short-term jobs during weekends and vacations.

Locum tenens work is a fantastic opportunity for providers to earn additional cash. Taking a weekend shift or spending vacation time working locum tenens generates additional funds that may be used for student loan repayment, savings, or other obligations. 

A More Favorable Work/Life Balance

Full-time locums work whenever they want to. They can take an extended break for a lengthy family trip without worrying about their obligations going unfulfilled. Numerous providers say that working locums enables them to be more present at home since they do not have to worry about paperwork, personnel decisions, or department meetings.

While most locum tenens providers accept assignments intermittently, some physicians book jobs consecutively and make locum tenens their primary occupation.

If healthcare is just one facet of your lifestyle, locum tenens jobs allow you to pursue other interests. We employ locum tenens who utilize their leisure time to travel the globe, write books, and see their grandchildren. Locums allow you to pick between working and leisure.

It Provides an Opportunity to Improve Skills

Consider locums if you want to improve your abilities or learn new techniques unavailable at your current organization. During locum tenens jobs, providers are exposed to various practice environments, procedures, and treatments. These abilities may then be applied back to your organization.

Test Drive a Potential New Job

A locum tenens job is an excellent opportunity to determine whether or not you will enjoy a facility or locale. It allows you to have a working interview, whether for a few days or a few months and assess whether or not you would want to work there permanently. Before accepting a multi-year contract, this option is especially appealing to fresh college grads who are still determining their career goals.

Avoid Burnout

Many providers suffering from burnout discover that a temporary change of atmosphere can refresh their love for medicine. A temporary position in a new institution, city, or state may reinvigorate and restore the enjoyment of practicing medicine.

Doctor Standing with His Head Back in the Medical Examination Room

Who is Best Suited for Locum Tenens?

Just about any provider, working in any specialty and in any stage of their career, can benefit from locum tenens work. 

New Providers

Locum tenens jobs are suitable for recently-graduated providers. Before committing to a long-term engagement, they can try out numerous work environments and places via temporary assignments.

New providers will also find the additional income useful so that they can begin paying off their student loans and begin to build some savings. They will also be given the opportunity to learn new techniques and improve their current skills. 

A locum tenens job is a great start for a new provider.

Providers in their Mid-Career

The flexibility given by locum tenens allows you to make revenue without administrative hassles, freeing up your time and energy for other pursuits, whether you are transitioning from a prior work setting or want to pursue other hobbies.

Many providers in their mid-career work locums to supplement their income and also gives them the flexibility to work hours of their choice so they can bridge into a new business venture.

Late-Career Providers

Semi-retired providers with a high level of expertise may choose to slow down but are not yet ready to retire entirely. These doctors may use locum tenens to continue working at their own speed. In addition, accepting jobs in several areas might be helpful in investigating future retirement destinations.

Are you ready to take a shot at working locums? Check out our open opportunities.

How Do Healthcare Facilities Use Locum Tenens?

Every kind of healthcare institution, from large urban trauma centers to tiny rural clinics, needs physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who can fill temporary vacancies in personnel. These hospitals rely on skilled locum tenens providers to assure the availability of excellent patient care throughout the nation.

Locum tenens providers provide a rapid and cost-effective solution to seasonal employment difficulties, such as flu season, maternity or vacation leave. Utilizing a locums provider to provide your staff with much-needed time off is also an excellent way to combat physician burnout. As a result of the current provider shortage, hospitals will continue to search for locum tenens providers.

Are you a healthcare facility looking for locum tenens workers? Contact us today!

How Do Locum Tenens Assignments Work?

A hospital at night next to a parking garage and street

When hospitals have difficulty filling a post, they call a locum tenens staffing agency.. These agencies’ consultants work directly with the institution and the physician to establish a suitable match. Once a physician accepts a position, the agency handles all licensure, credentials, and privileges. Additionally, the agency handles all trip arrangements, such as flights, vehicle rentals, and lodging.

Additionally, agencies manage physician payments and malpractice insurance. As independent contractors, locum tenens doctors are responsible for paying their own taxes and providing their own benefits. Locum tenens doctors are often paid a greater hourly rate than a permanent employee in the same function since they do not get benefits.

Final Thoughts

Using locum tenens has revolutionized the medical industry, providing physicians and healthcare providers with the flexibility to practice in areas that would otherwise be underserved while providing patients with quality care and attention. Using locum tenens has allowed health systems to staff up quickly and efficiently in times of need while providing physicians with the opportunity to gain experience and specialize in a particular area. 

Although particular challenges are associated with locum tenens, such as cost and the need to provide quality care, the benefits of using this approach to provide medical services are undeniable. Locum tenens has enabled many health systems to access quality care for their patients while also providing physicians with the flexibility and opportunity to gain experience. In conclusion, using locum tenens has benefited the health systems and physicians. It will likely continue to be a successful and popular approach to providing medical services.

 

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