How Locums Work Can Help Reduce Medical Student Debt

How Locums Work Can Help Reduce Medical Student Debt

When a student makes the decision to study medicine, the hefty medical school debt that comes later isn’t often top of mind. But once the residency is complete and the bills filter in, there is the inevitable case of sticker shock. And this is one condition that a new doctor must work hard to cure.

The average amount of medical student debt a student accrues upon graduation is at least $100,000, with 59 percent of graduates carrying more than $150,000 in medical student debt. For many, this sky-high amount translates into a payment of $3,000 monthly for 20 to 30 years, the time it takes for most new doctors to pay down the balance.

One of the ways some doctors work to pay off their medical school debt is to supplement their income by working locum tenens assignments. Locum tenens offers opportunities for physicians to fill in for other doctors on a temporary or part-time basis, providing a win-win for the physician and the employer. The physician has the opportunity to work in a new facility or in a new location and gain valuable experience, while the employer is able to fill a position left vacant due to illness, vacation, leave of absence, or other situation.

When more physicians work locum tenens, patients also win, because the facilities they frequent are better staffed, helping to ensure that the services they need are provided as well as reducing wait times. In fact, according to a recent Staff Care survey, healthcare facility managers said continuity of patient care is the main benefit of locum tenens physicians.

Locum tenens positions can range from a few days to several months, providing short-term and profitable work opportunities in facilities around the nation. In that same Staff Care survey, 91 percent of healthcare facility managers who responded said they used locum tenens physicians in 2014. Furthermore, 42 percent of these managers said they're now currently seeking locum tenens physicians.

How Working Locum Tenens also Boosts Professional Development

For new physicians looking for varied experiences, or for those who have served their residency and are waiting to begin a fellowship, locum tenens can be an affirming and productive career move. Aside from a robust paycheck, locum tenens work also builds experience and professional development. The positions available are located in various settings and hospital sizes around the nation, enabling the physician to experience myriad options without a long-term commitment to a particular type of facility or location.

Physicians who accept locums assignments with Staff Care enjoy a long list of benefits, from assistance with medical licensure to comprehensive insurance protection. If you’re a physician in emergency medicine, behavior health, surgery, oncology, and other medical specialties, we can help you find career-forwarding opportunities with locum tenens positions. You can even start your search online here.

Learn more about the ways you can enrich your career and gain valuable experience with locum tenens positions: Sign up for Staff Care's Doctors in Training program today.

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