A group of physicians smiling
Locums News September 30, 2020

By Tim Boes, contributor

The Five Physicians Who Work Locum Tenens: Which One Are You?

There are a number of reasons why physicians choose to “hit the road” and try the locums' lifestyle. In general, physicians who have decided to try locum tenens fall into five categories:

Alternatives. Physicians seek a haven from the slings and arrows of the medical practice environment. Some of them have to do with the myriad challenges and frustrations presented by traditional medical practice such as bureaucratic headaches, reimbursement hassles, malpractice concerns, and stress. For some doctors, locum tenens represent an alternative to a traditional private practice model that has become untenable.

Sunset Seekers. Highly experienced doctors use locums to cap their careers. These are physicians reaching the end of their careers but still wish to see patients and earn income for at least part of the year. Some of these physicians may have previously retired, but, given the sluggish economy, have returned to work via locum tenens.

Test Drivers. Young physicians are curious about what’s out there. These doctors are just starting out and are curious about different types of medical settings and geographic locations. They use locum tenens to “test drive” various practice styles and areas, “comparison shopping” until they are ready to settle into permanent practice.

Transitionals. Mid-career physicians use locums as a bridge to their next step. They may have a gap between residency and their first permanent practice and will use locums as a way to hone their skills, earn income, and see the country before starting their first full-time practice. They may also be in mid-career but have decided to make a change. They use locums to maintain skills and income while determining what they want to do next, or to the same different practice styles.

Moonlighters. These are physicians using locums to earn extra income during off-hours or extended vacation time or are using their downtime to try new practice styles and locations.

Physicians who work locum tenens may fall into more than one category, or start out as one type and transition into another. What they all appreciate is the flexibility that locums work brings to their lifestyles. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of locums work or contact us here to connect with a locums recruitment professional today.


Based on the types of locum tenens physicians described here, which do you feel you most closely identify with? We'd love to hear your thoughts — connect with us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and join the conversation!

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