Living La Vida Locum: What Clinicians Love About Locum Tenens Roles

Posted on: July 25, 2016

written by

Jess Huckins

We talk a lot about what we think locum tenens can do for you. Empowerment. Career growth. Flexibility. Travel. New opportunities. But we’re not as in the know as you are. In order to truly understand your pain points and what about them pushes you to take on — and excel in — locums roles, we decided to ask you.

A couple of weeks ago, we sent out an anonymous survey to a group of 1,000 physicians, NPs, PAs, and dentists in our network. It contained two very important questions:

  1. What are some of the difficulties you face while working in healthcare?
  2. What do you like about working locum tenens jobs?

Here’s what you and your peers said.

First Up: Who Responded?

As you can see in the graph below, physicians made up the majority of respondents, followed by nurse practitioners. PAs and dentists tied for third place.

Difficulties Related to Healthcare Jobs

Every clinician group said that long or odd hours are problematic. Physicians also talked about EMR systems, insurance, and paperwork. NPs and PAs said they experience high patient loads, and they frequently mentioned office politics. Dentists brought up difficult cases more so than other practitioners, but like physicians, they ran into administrative troubles. They were also the only group that did not cite issues with high patient loads.

As one provider put it, there’s often “pressure to compromise quality of care to see more patients in a shorter time period.” In all cases, we found these issues eventually led to job dissatisfaction and burnout.

The Best Parts About Working Locum Tenens

On the flip side, providers who have tried locums roles with Barton had good news to report. Every clinician group loved the flexibility and travel opportunities that locum tenens work affords them. Many also cited the ability to meet and learn from new people, see different patients and cases, and try out a variety of work environments.

In Their Own Words

Here are some direct quotes from clinicians about the benefits of locum tenens:

“It is great to experience different settings and practice styles, and meet new people.”
“I can be myself and not have to feed into ‘office politics.’”
“I like the fact that the only thing I have to do is show up and work. I get to travel with no hassle. I get to experience new things and places, and meet new people. I get to learn how people do things in different places. I have a sense of freedom of living my own life on my own terms.”
“[I like] autonomy and independence of practice, wonderful supportive recruiters to work with, and knowing it's only temporary.”
“I really enjoy having a buffer … having someone negotiate schedule or any problems for me.”
“[I like] not having to deal with office politics. I'm there just to help out, and the people like that, so they are pleasant.”
“[I like] working in different places with different physicians and learning the many different ways of caring for patients.”
“[Having the] freedom to work where you want to work, in the setting you choose, at the time you want.”

Your Turn

If you haven’t tried locum tenens yet but are frustrated with some of the difficulties of your career in healthcare, why not give it a try? Temporary locums work can even supplement your full-time job, so there’s no need to make any huge changes until you know for sure what you prefer.

When you request a Custom Job Search, a dedicated, experienced Barton Associates representative will reach out to you and help find the best role for your current situation. Let us know if you have any questions — we’re here to help!

What do you find the most rewarding — or difficult — about your career in healthcare? Tweet us @bartonlocums.

About Jess Huckins

Jess Huckins was formerly the managing editor at Barton Associates’ Peabody, MA, headquarters. She joined Barton after nearly a decade of professional editing in the publishing, marketing, and healthcare fields, and she holds a master's degree in publishing and writing. 

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