October 31, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Most physicians have heard of locum tenens opportunities but until recently, the majority were reluctant to become part of this category of professionals for fear of being looked down upon. The general thinking amongst the public was that a locum tenens doctor was usually less qualified than other regular doctors at the same facility. Because of this, very few practitioners ventured into this area. Unfortunately, this meant forfeiting several significant benefits that are associated with locum tenens.
The good news is today, locum tenens practitioners are just as highly regarded as doctors who are on the permanent staff list. Here are just a few reasons why medical professionals from across all specialties and career phases, from residency to retirement should not dismiss the idea of locum tenens.
According to statistics the majority of physicians who choose to work locum tenens do so in order to supplement their income. Many doctors who may be employed by a hospital or who work in a private practice admit to picking up extra locums shifts on their days off or on weekends as a quick and easy way to earn extra cash to pay off student loans or to put towards other financial goals.
For many doctors, the flexibility in scheduling is one of the most appealing aspects of locum tenens. You can choose which assignments to take on and which to turn down. You can also choose your location and duration of the contract. It’s an ideal arrangement for someone who has other commitments outside of medicine, whether it is caring for a loved one or exploring other hobbies or for those who are just looking for a better life/work balance.
For many doctors, administrative work is the least appealing part of their job but most will reluctantly admit to it being a ‘necessary evil’. Locums on the other hand, enjoy the ability to practice pure medicine and focus on caring for their patients without having to worry about administrative work or having to fill up loads of paperwork.
More and more physicians are beginning to consider locums as a viable full-time option instead of just using it to supplement their regular income. One of the reasons for this is that locums do not have to worry about overheads or insurance.
There is no shortage of locum tenens assignments within the country and abroad too. Many medical facilities in rural as well as urban areas are in dire need of qualified medical professionals to keep up with patient demand. This means that no matter how tough the economy, you are almost guaranteed to be able to land a job without much down time.
This kind of arrangement is appealing to both young physicians who have not yet established a patient base, and retired physicians who are looking to earn some extra money without the stress that comes with a full time, permanent job. What’s more, a great job done during your contract will almost always lead to repeat assignments as establishments prefer to hire someone who they have worked with before and they know is reliable and great with patients. As a result, some locums’ physicians may work with the same healthcare establishment and even with the same patients for several years.