9 Benefits of Locum Tenens Work for Physicians, PAs & NPs
Today more than ever before, more healthcare employers are hiring locum tenens physicians and practitioners to compensate for shortages in their staffing teams. The number of hospitals that staffed locum physicians "rose from 22% in 2009 to 55% in 2013," reports Medical Economics. Of 230 healthcare facilities surveyed in 2014, "90% reported using temporary physicians in the last 12 months — a 16% increase from the prior year," the report continues.
And, as we reported last month, the nation's escalating physician shortage is only creating more need for locum tenens physicians in locations everywhere across the United States.
So, the upshot is that there are more locum tenens opportunities than ever before for today's doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. But why exactly is that a good thing — in other words, what are the benefits of locum tenens work?
"There are many benefits to the locum tenens physician lifestyle," explains the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations® (NALTO®). "Locums physicians often enjoy higher pay scales, more variety in medical cases, a broad array of work locations from which to choose, and the flexibility to build their own schedules."
To be more specific about locums benefits, let's break down nine of the key advantages of locum tenens work:
- More Career Independence. “When physicians were mostly small business owners, they had a high financial and emotional investment in their practices and tended to put down roots,” one locums staffing expert explains in the Medical Economics article. “As employees, they are more likely to pull up stakes if compensation, schedules, or other factors are not to their liking.” In other words, a big locums benefit is the ability to choose from a greater variety of jobs than ever, meaning you can find opportunities when and where you like — instead of waiting for them to come to you.
- More Career Flexibility. Full-time locum tenens work "that pays much more than I made as a full-time primary care doctor is 7 days a week, every other week, about 12 hours a day," writes Dr. Janice Boughton in an article for KevinMD.com. "This allows me to have real-time off, which is great."
- Personal Fulfillment. "Many physicians who practice locum tenens find it to be a very fulfilling career experience," NALTO reports. "You will have the opportunity to meet new contacts and treat a broader array of patient cases." On top of that, you'll know that, by working a locum tenens assignment, you're truly helping a hospital and community in need of quality care.
- Financial Fulfillment. If you're looking for extra income — to pay down medical school debt, to finance a new business venture or home, or any number of other reasons — locum tenens is a great way to earn a supplemental paycheck. Many physicians work part-time locums jobs in addition to their regular full-time employment.
- A Greater Range of Career Experience. "As a locum tenens physician, you will be exposed to many new environments and hospital systems," NALTO adds. "By adapting to every new situation, you will be presented with greater opportunities to expand your career."
- The Chance to 'Test Drive' a New Career. "Doctors who are just finishing their residencies and are unsure of where they want to live or what kind of work they want to do often turn to locum tenens work" to help them make a better-informed decision about their career path, reports Becker's Hospital Review.
- A Chance to Travel & See the U.S.A. "I have worked in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska in the last year and it has been really interesting and most gratifying," writes Dr. Boughton in the KevinMD.com article. "I have met new colleagues, made friends for life, seen lots of patients with mysterious and interesting problems and fascinating life stories, and felt like I was useful and appreciated."
- A Means to Fight Physician Burnout. Burnout is an increasing problem in the healthcare industry, and locum tenens work can serve as a useful stress valve to release some tension. "I get to pick and choose how often I work and, most importantly, when I do work, it is an absolute joy," writes Dr. Geeta Arora in a letter for The Hospitalist. "I can happily say I am able to give my patients the care that they deserve without feeling burnt out."
- More Employment Opportunities. "Growth in locum tenens positions is expected to continue, given that 31% of the managers polled say they plan to increase staff due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Another 7% plan to increase temporary physician staffing to address patient increases," the Medical Economics article states, indicating that the many locums benefits listed here are only going to expand in the years to come.
Interested in discovering the benefits of locum tenens work for yourself? We invite you to discover a locums job opportunity in your preferred location today by contacting Locum Leaders here or searching our nationwide list of locums jobs here.