Advice and Insights October 16, 2017

The Benefits of Working Locum Jobs During Cold & Flu Season

As a number of news reports have indicated, this year’s cold and flu season has gotten off to an early start.

“Health experts are preparing to see one of the worst flu seasons they've seen in recent years,” reports Florida’s WTXL News. “Flu cases are already popping up across the country and the peak of the season has yet to even start.”

As most doctors and practitioners know all too well, that’s a pretty good sign that this winter — flu season typically peaks in January and February — will be a particularly busy one in the nation’s hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For physicians running their own practice, cold and flu season often brings added challenges of coping with staff shortages as well as in influx of new patients, whose ailments can begin with cold and flu symptoms but also escalate into other conditions such as ear and sinus infections, bronchitis or bacterial pneumonia.

But for doctors who choose to work the locum tenens lifestyle, it cold and flu season represents an opportunity to help hospitals and health centers alleviate those same difficulties.

More and more, hospitals are working to beat cold and flu season staffing shortages by the use of locum tenens workers. It’s no doubt one of the reasons why 94% of all facility managers told us they used locum doctors, NPs, or PAs at some point in 2016.

Working Locum Jobs During Cold & Flu Season

1. Helping with Vaccinations

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Americans get vaccinated before the end of October,” notes Gant News. Yet many wait until November or even December, often creating a surge of patients during the already-busy winter months.

Locum physicians and clinicians can help meet this need, particularly those who choose to moonlight or work part-time locums work—assistance with flu vaccinations can often mean working early, per-work hour shifts, or helping out a community health center in need during the weekends. If you’re interested in this type of locums work, ask a Staff Care recruiter about the level of need in your area.

2. Greater Pediatric Need

The demand for qualified locum pediatricians rises during cold and flu season, as children frequently face greater risks than adults. “The problems can be exacerbated in children with underlying conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes,” points out Texas' Temple Daily Telegram.

Locum pediatricians are always in demand—as are all other family medicine practitioners—but particularly so during flu season. If you’re a doctor, NP or PA specializing in pediatrics and are interested in helping a local facility meet the surge in demand during cold and flu season, contact us here to discover how and where you can assist.

3. Greater Need for Ob/Gyn and Geriatric Physicians

Pregnant women also face heightened risk during cold and flu season, particularly “those with complicated medical conditions and underlying lung disease,” as Gant News points out.

During pregnancy, women experience increased blood volume; adding as it does additional stress on the heart and lungs, influenza can make infections “particularly dangerous” during pregnancy, Dr. George Dubrocq told the Temple Daily Telegram.

People 65 and older also face escalated risk levels. There were more than 18,000 confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations during the 2016-2017 flu season, and almost two-thirds of those were among patients aged 65 years and older, writes Dr. Doug Campos-Outcalt in the Journal of Family Practice.

If you’re a physician specializing in Ob/Gyn, geriatrics, pediatrics, or any form of primary care, and you’re interested in helping America’s hospitals and healthcare facilities meet the demands of this year’s cold and flu seasons, locum tenens work is a great way to do just that. For more information on available opportunities, please contact us here.

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