How Rural Locum Tenens Staffing Ensures Continuity of Care in Small Towns & Communities

How Rural Locum Tenens Staffing Ensures Continuity of Care in Small Towns & Communities

A local newspaper in Kansas has published an article that nicely summarizes the benefits of hiring locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners to help maintain consistent staffing in rural communities. Rural locum tenens workers should be an important component of a local clinic's "plan" to "maintain care," writes Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder for the McPherson Sentinel.

The article focuses on a clinic in McPherson, a community of about 13,000 residents in central Kansas. Understaffed and in need to supplemental medical staff, the clinic has been hiring rural locum tenens professionals to maintain care during what's described as a lengthy recruitment process.

Rural locum tenens doctors, PAs and NPs seem to be ideally suited to the kinds of rural staffing needs that the McPherson story highlights. In general, employers in these communities have a more challenging time hiring "because physicians often have more responsibilities with the clinic and emergency room,” said Larry Van Der Wege, an administrator for the clinic, in Schroeder's article.

“Whether it’s a large or small facility, it could be a while to get a physician in," Van Der Wege added. "We’re just looking for the right fit.”

Rural Locum Tenens Provide 'Continuity of Care'

Locum workers fit the bill. “They can provide the exact same services, which is great because it provides continuity of care,” clinic manager Karna Peterson told Schroeder. “It’s working out really well. At first, when people hear they’ll see a different doctor, they feel apprehensive because they feel they won’t know their medical history, but we explain they can see that history and notes on their digital chart and they feel more relieved.”

“There’s a bit of a get-to-know-you period, but our goal is to make it seamless,” Peterson added. “Depending on their other obligations at other facilities, the locums can fill in for a week, twice a month or just a few days.”

Schroeder also gets at another under-heralded benefit of locum tenens staffing, in rural communities and pretty much everywhere else, describing rural locum workers as individuals who "tend to enjoy change and are flexible with a diverse schedule, even in a variety of locations."

And that flexible schedule that rural locum workers offer can be a big advantage for smaller clinics faced with a fluctuating demand for services.

“One of our physician assistants flies in from Florida for a week at a time because she has family in Kansas and wants the opportunity to work close to them,” Peterson said. “We schedule appointments 2 to 3 months in advance so we can schedule patients with the same locum for follow-ups.”

If you represent a healthcare employer seeking rural locum tenens practitioners, contact Staff Care today and discover how our nationwide network of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and CRNAs can help you maintain optimum staffing at all times. We also invite you to fill out a staffing request form to give us a snapshot of your immediate staffing needs.

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