September 19, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Medical facilities are reluctant to offer free, private housing for locum tenens physicians as they are only there for a short time. This means, the contractors are responsible for paying part of the expense.
Most organisations will give you the option of choosing between private housing that they pay for in full or getting a stipend, which you can use to pay for your own accommodations. In the latter case, the choice of accommodation will be up to you. You can choose to take up cheaper accommodation and keep the excess money or you can splurge on an upmarket home and pay the excess rent from your own pocket. Most staffing firms will absorb the cost of basic utilities and furnishings but you will have to pay for the extras such as telephone bills, pet deposits, cable TV and entertainment expenses.
You will be obligated to the staffing agency beyond the length of an assignment.
When you take up a locum tenens position you are only responsible for the shifts that you agreed to do in your contract, whether it was a weekend, several weeks or a couple of months. As a locum tenens you are an independent contractor and as such you have a choice as to whether you want to stay with one staffing agency or you would prefer to pick and choose contracts from multiple agencies. Some independent contractors prefer to use multiple agencies as it allows them to widen their scope with regards to clinical settings as well as geographic destinations. Others may decide to stay loyal to one firm because they prefer continuity and also because they may have developed strong recruiter relationships.
Locum tenens is only for older doctors who are semi-retired.
This myth has been the one huge deterrent for younger medical professionals. Locum tenens offers as many opportunities and advantages for younger physicians as it does for older doctors. An added advantage for younger physicians is that it allows them to explore alternative practice settings and change their environment especially if they have any misgivings about their initial choices. The lure of travelling and working in different locales and experiencing different cultures is one of the perks of this path for all ages.
You have no say in the housing arrangement and would be forced to stay in whatever accommodation was provided even if it was way below your usual standard of living.
While you may face the problem of sub-standard housing if you took up a position in a third-world country, it would be very rare in most developed parts of the world. Irrespective of location, if this is a genuine problem most establishments would do their best to move you to more acceptable accommodation. Staffing agencies almost always have long-standing relationships with hotels, serviced apartments and realty companies and they can find you alternative accommodation through their local network. For the organisation, it’s their reputation at stake and they would not want to jeopardise that for fear that it would be difficult to get good temporary help next time. Word spreads fast in this Internet age and everybody is aware of the consequences of a tarnished reputation.