Locum tenens jobs have long been utilized by doctors who are retired, semi-retired or considering retirement, and for good reason: Locum work isn't just a nice way to maintain an active source of income post-retirement (or at any point in your career), it's also a great way to keep busy when you choose to step away from full-time and/or permanent employment.
As readers of the Locums Link Blog know, "locum tenens" is a Latin term meaning, roughly, to fill in or to hold a place. Locum doctors work for employers facing staff shortages for a variety of reasons — from filling in for full-time doctors who are sick or on sabbatical to helping compensate for seasonal fluctuations or increases in patients (such as that currently being experienced by many employers as a result of the surge in insured people caused by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Locum tenens jobs can be part-time or full-time; they can be temporary or permanent. Indeed, they offer a lot of variety of physicians looking for flexibility in their schedules. They also offer many geographical options. For retired doctors looking to explore the U.S., working locum tenens jobs in other states is often an appealing way to meet those bucket-list travel goals while also staying actively employed (and also experiencing the satisfaction of continuing to provide care for communities that need it).
What Is Locum Tenens?
Take, for instance, the late Dr. Murray Schwartz, a "well-traveled" radiologist who, instead of retiring, chose to spend the latter part of his career working brief locum tenens jobs in locations across the Northeast and Midwest, including Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio and North Dakota.
Described by his son as having a "taste for adventure," Dr. Schwartz seemed particularly well-suited for the locum tenens lifestyle. He's on the record as stating that, "for physicians like me who are at the tail end of their careers and do not want to practice full time but still want to keep their hands in medicine, locum tenens is a great opportunity," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
6 Reasons for Retired Physicians to Work Locum Tenens Jobs
1. An Opportunity to Travel — for Adventure, or to Visit Family. As Dr. Schwartz demonstrated, locum tenens jobs fulfill the taste for adventure that many physicians may feel near their retirement years. Traveling the U.S. is a popular option for many retirees across all career types, and may be all the more appealing for doctors who have often dedicated their lives and careers to a single location. With locum tenens jobs, physicians can enjoy part-time post-retirement work in California or New York, Hawaii or Alaska — or perhaps in a location that's nearer to their children or grandchildren.
2. Keep Working, but with Less Work. Working locum tenens jobs also give retired or semi-retired doctors "the ability to earn income and enjoy interaction with patients without the full-load of time commitments and responsibilities" usually experienced by full-time physician, reports the My Retired Doctor blog. "You might fill in for physicians on vacation or on maternity leave. These opportunities can be found through staffing agencies" — like Staff Care, of course!
3. More Job Opportunities. As we never get tired of emphasizing here at the Locums Link Blog, locum tenens jobs are more abundant than ever, with three-fourths of healthcare facilities reporting that they have immediate plans to employ locum doctors, NPs and PAs (per Staff Care's Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends). "A novelty 20 years ago," locum tenens physicians are now a common feature of medical staffs today, as explained by this brief video overview of the importance of locum doctors in today's healthcare workforce.
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4. Career Autonomy. As the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations® (NALTO) points out, it takes something of an independent personality to fully embrace locum tenens work. "However, this independence can also be very rewarding. You will have the opportunity to control your own schedule, visit new locations, and more." That's not a bad benefit for anyone, but it can be particularly appealing for those seeking late-career independence.
5. Greater Flexibility. A big reason why locum jobs appeal to physicians of all ages is the inherent flexibility that comes from being able to structure your career on your own terms. "Flexibility is one of the major advantages" of locum tenens jobs, explains Jane McGrath in an article describing career options for doctors considering retirement. "For instance, part-time locum tenens work is easier to find and often suits the life of a retiree.
"You'll have some freedom to build your own schedule," McGrath adds. "Some things to consider, however, are that it might require traveling and working off-hours. Before joining a staffing agencies, check to see whether it pays for travel and accommodations." (Pro tip: Staff Care does!)
6. Staff Care Makes It Easy! As McGrath rightly points out, locum tenens jobs "also require an active license, and, depending on where you practice and if you've been inactive for a while, it may entail the re-entry process. In fact, depending on the travel, going into locum tenens work might even necessitate getting licensed in multiple states."
All valid concerns, of course — and all taken care of by Staff Care. We make it a point to do the following for our locum tenens doctors:
- State Licensing Services: If you're not licensed in the state where you want to work, a friendly, industry-savvy Staff Care recruiter will take care of the process on your behalf — including filing any necessary paperwork and arranging for the payment of any necessary fees.
- Malpractice Insurance: All of our locum workers receive a full suite of benefits that includes not only malpractice insurance, but health insurance, too.
- Travel Costs Are on Us: When you travel for a Staff Care locums job, we cover the cost of your flights to and from your assignment, as well as your stay in a hotel or apartment. We also take care of all the arrangements, leaving you the time and freedom to do what you do best: Focus on patient care. Learn more about Staff Care's travel benefits here.
Are you a retired or semi-retired physician ready to explore locum tenens job opportunities? We encourage you to contact Staff Care today to inquire about options available in your area. And you can always search available locum tenens jobs right here at StaffCare.com — our list of locum assignments is updated all day, every day!
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