Locum Tenens for Every Stage of Your Career

Posted on: March 04, 2015

written by

Sara Seng

Whether you recently graduated or are nearing retirement, or anything in between, locum tenens is a great experience to add to any career stage.

Locum Tenens for New Grads

Most healthcare providers will graduate with a large amount of student loan debt. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average debt of a medical student increased by three percent to $180,000 in 2014, and advanced-practice clinicians such as NPs and PAs graduate with an average of $100,000 in debt. By working as a locum tenens provider full-time or by picking up extra shifts, new graduates are able to earn income to help pay off their student loans and to avoid adding on to their current debt.

Because full-time locums are paid by the hour, they are able to earn the same amount as or even more than physicians and advanced-practice clinicians in permanent positions. Locums who want to work part-time are also able to benefit financially, especially hospitalists and emergency medicine providers who predominantly do shift work. Part-time locum tenens hospitalists and emergency medicine providers take advantage of a seven-on/seven-off schedule by picking up extra shifts during off days.

Additionally, picking up locum tenens assignments during residency or post-graduation is valuable for guiding the career goals of new graduates. Recently trained healthcare providers can use locum tenens to gain valuable knowledge as they consider what type of permanent position, practice setting, and location in which they would prefer to practice the future.

State licenses are paid for on behalf of the locum tenens provider, which further expands employment opportunities without the hassle of obtaining the licenses on their own. With the ability to get an inside look into various practices while networking with other healthcare professionals and paying off student debt, the locum tenens lifestyle plays a significant role in new graduates’ personal and professional growth.

Locum Tenens for Transitioning Healthcare Professionals

Locum tenens is also a great option for providers who are in the middle stage of their careers. They have graduated, settled into a specialty and location, and are not yet thinking about retirement. Locum tenens allows healthcare providers the freedom to tackle personal and professional challenges head-on. Such challenges can consist of changing practices, relocating to a different state, or evolving family or marital statuses.

Many physicians, NPs, PAs, and dentists take advantage of locum tenens assignments as a way to design their own schedules while dedicating so-called “free” time to tackling career or personal life changes. There are several different factors that contribute to a provider's decision to make a change in his or her career, whether that means a lack of income or just not being satisfied with the status quo. Locum tenens positions afford providers the opportunity to test the waters at different facilities, and even different specialties. 

While in the process of a transition, wherein working full-time is no longer an option, providers are able receive income with the freedom and flexibility to take on these life changes, all while maintaining their medical careers.

Locum Tenens for Patient-Focused Healthcare Providers

There may also come a time in a provider’s career that he or she decides a permanent position is no longer a good fit. Healthcare providers who choose to do locum tenens are able to escape the headache of bureaucratic red tape, the hassles of paperwork, and the struggles of hospital politics. The locum tenens advantage for physicians, NPs, PAs, and dentists is the opportunity to concentrate on patient care.

According to a national study, American physicians spend more than 16 percent of the workweek on administrative tasks instead of using that time to treat and examine patients. Locum tenens physicians, NPs, PAs, and dentists are freed from paperwork requirements such as billing and insurance approvals, and from overseeing budgetary, personnel, and office issues. They can use all their time to focus on the patient.

Locum Tenens for Healthcare Providers With Burnout

Medical providers rate patient relationships as the most satisfying element of medical practice. Since most providers decide to go into medicine to provide patient care, when the quality of the patient relationship declines, physicians become demoralized and experience burnout. Burnout can cause depression and exhaustion, which negatively affect the motivation that healthcare providers need to get through the workweek successfully.

The healthcare field can be a stressful environment, and the importance of being able to establish work-life balance is crucial to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Locum tenens opens the door for healthcare providers to pursue their passion for caregiving while still having the freedom to explore other interests. It is important to keep the drive of patient care alive while still taking care of the provider’s own well-being. 

Providers have the ability to choose when and where they want to work and are not burdened with the administrative responsibilities that come with private practice. This allows them to adequately devote time to caring for patients, maintaining a personal life, and avoiding burnout.

Locum Tenens for Retiring Healthcare Professionals

Highly skilled healthcare providers who are considering retirement often hope to enjoy their golden years traveling, spending time with loved ones, and participating in hobbies. However, according to a study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, American workers aged 32–64 found that they were “$6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably” in 2010. Locum tenens affords older healthcare providers the opportunity to earn supplemental income on a desirable schedule, such as seasonal or weekend shifts, all while still enjoying the benefits of retirement.

Healthcare providers who are at this later stage in their career are also able to share their experience and expertise by assisting colleagues who need their services. The medical industry is filled with individuals who have a strong desire to help people. Retirement does not change that desire. Retirees may take locums positions to help alleviate some of the shortages for qualified healthcare providers by sharing the experience and expertise they have acquired throughout their years with other providers. Locum tenens can be the best way to transition from a busy practice to a schedule that coordinates better with a healthcare provider’s personal needs once entering retirement.

With all of the benefits and flexibility, locum tenens is the perfect alternative for healthcare providers in any stage of their career path. 

For more information on how locum tenens could be a great choice for you regardless of your career stage, please contact us today.

About Sara Seng

Sara Seng was formerly the social media specialist at Barton Associates’ Peabody, MA, headquarters, where she focused on growing brand awareness and engagement. She received her bachelor of science in communications from Salem State University.

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