Locum tenens is becoming increasingly popular among healthcare providers. A physician staffing survey showed that the number of U.S. doctors working locum tenens has nearly doubled to 48,000 since 2002. At a time when physician burnout and job dissatisfaction are increasing, locum tenens offers an alternative to full-time employment that can reverse these negative trends.
As a locum tenens provider, you have more control over your schedule – you can take assignments as needed, working as much or as little as you want. It also offers the opportunity to work in different settings, whether it’s in a different state or just a different type of healthcare organization. A locum tenens provider may work a few days in a rural hospital one week and in an urban hospital the next.
This flexibility also allows locum tenens providers to have more downtime, which you can use to take vacations or spend time with family. This can increase job satisfaction because it allows for a better work-life balance than working a typical schedule as a permanent staff member.
Freedom from Administrative Tasks
According to a 2017 survey by the American Medical Association (AMA), administrative burden was one of the top contributors to physician stress and exhaustion. Physicians who have excessive administrative tasks have less time to spend with patients, which can lead to a decrease in professional satisfaction. As a locum tenens provider, you won’t have to handle the same amount of paperwork, and can focus your time and energy on patients.
Opportunities for Career Development
Since locum tenens providers may work in a variety of different healthcare settings, you will have the opportunity to learn different systems and standards of care. This allows you to develop new skills that you may not learn as a permanent staff member. In turn, this opens up the potential for more assignments down the line.
Better Pay Rates
Locum tenens providers have an advantage of being paid a flat rate for the amount of time worked, as well as being paid by specialty. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates a shortage of between 24,800 and 65,800 physicians in specialty care. Locum tenens providers who work in in-demand specialties can earn more by filling in those gaps. Although locum tenens providers do not receive the traditional benefits of a permanent employee, you may be paid a higher hourly rate. Additionally, certain costs may be covered by the staffing agency, such as lodging, licensing, and travel.
If you are feeling burnt out or dissatisfied with your current job situation, you may want to consider locum tenens as an alternative. However, it is important that you weigh the pros and cons of going locum versus seeking permanent employment before you make the leap. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that you can change your mind later.