Nearly half of U.S. medical care is delivered in emergency departments (EDs), according to a 2017 study published by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. In recent years, the percentage of care delivered by EDs has grown, meaning an increase in need for emergency medicine providers.
This trend is especially true in rural areas. Heather Dumas, former senior vice president of human resources at Air Methods in Englewood, Colorado, says “Today, more than one-quarter of the American population, 85 million residents, can only access a Level 1 or 2 Trauma Care facility within one hour if they are flown by air medical missions. Collectively, this means that our services are more necessary than ever before.”
Work as a locum tenens provider in emergency medicine is available, but you may have to be flexible staying outside the city, according to reports. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine says 92% of the 48,835 clinically active emergency physicians in the United States practice in more urban areas, with just 8% practicing in rural communities. The gap in geographical preference appears to be ever growing for emergency medicine providers, which means demand is likely to increase over time in underserved areas.
This extends not only to traditional EDs, but to other opportunities as well. For example, an increased number of ‘Express Care’ locations are popping up nationwide. These facilities take in patients with more minor injuries and illnesses, and are staffed by emergency providers, giving a chance for care outside of a traditional ED for those in emergency medicine.
Furthermore, the average age of urban emergency physicians is around 50, while rural providers’ average age fluctuates between 58-62. Analysis also shows that 96% of the emergency medicine residency or fellowship graduates within the past four years practice in more urban areas. So comparatively, serving a smaller community could be more beneficial in the long run due to the breadth of opportunities on the horizon. More jobs will be available, and you’ll be compensated fairly no matter where you end up.
According to Medscape’s 2022 Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report, emergency medicine physician salaries grew by 5% on average in 2021 from $354,000 to $373,000. Also, Mint Physician Staffing says emergency care providers that work at an average rate of $250 an hour for the same amount of hours as a permanent provider, will earn roughly $54,662 more a year.
Now, that’s not to say you have to work the same amount. In fact, earning more means you don’t have to put in as many hours to reap the same rewards. Much of the allure of locum tenens is its temporary nature, and that remains true for emergency work. Long shifts are synonymous with EDs, but stints at facilities can be as short as a couple of weeks or months with locum tenens work, so there’s plenty of room for mobility in this high-demand market.
When you book an assignment with Barton Associates, you can be assured we have your best interest in mind. Our recruiters will sort their search so that we present you with options that fit your needs. Whether it’s a specific schedule, salary, location, or travel quirk that takes precedent– your priorities become ours! Reach out to one of our recruiters, or fill out a contact form today to get started! If you’re unsure where to start, fill out the form to get in touch with your Barton Associates recruiter or stop by our locum tenens job board to see our current openings (which change daily).