By Debra Wood, RN, contributor Jun 21, 2021
Amid tremendous demand, locum tenens psychiatrists enjoy
the freedom to choose assignments, locations and practice settings across the
“Flexibility is the
greatest advantage about locum
psychiatry,” said Alexandre Geronian, MD, a locum tenens psychiatrist with Staff
Care based in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Geronian began working locum psychiatry
weekend assignments at a children’s hospital in New Jersey to earn extra money
in 2016 while still in his residency.
“It worked out
well financially, and I was gaining experience,” he said. “Why not?”
decided to continue working as a locum tenens psychiatrist after
completing his residency program and said he has no regrets.
Initially, he thought he would find
a place he really enjoyed and would accept a permanent psychiatrist job. That
didn’t happen. He worked a part-time job for four years, while still practicing
as a locum tenens psychiatrist.
“Now, I am just doing locums,”
One benefit of locum psychiatry is
the option to travel around the country, but Geronian is currently choosing to
stay closer to home to spend time with his wife and small child.
In fact, in his current locum tenens
position, he provides telemedicine visits, working remotely from home. He has
noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of remote psychiatry
which are more convenient for patients and physicians. Additionally, no-show
rates are much lower with telemedicine, which translates to better quality of
care, he said.
Enjoying the benefits of working locum tenens
Geronian appreciates the flexibility of locum
psychiatry jobs. He aims to avoid a full-time, five-days-per-week permanent
psychiatrist job, and the long-term commitment that comes with such positions.
He prefers choosing when and where he works, including
the length of time he will work at a position and the ease of scheduling time
off for vacations.
“The best thing
about locums is you can work in different settings—inpatient, outpatient,
addiction, eating disorders, state hospitals, prisons,” Geronian said. “With
locums, you are always learning.”
Geronian reports that there are plenty of locum
psychiatry positions available because of the shortage of psychiatrists in the
country, which started long before the COVID-19 pandemic. But the COVID crisis has negatively affected people’s mental health,
adding to the need. He reported that about 30 million or more people in the
country need the care of a psychiatrist.
That pandemic has left people with anxiety, depression
and substance abuse problems, as people stayed home and drank more alcohol and
“Addiction is huge,” Geronian said. “From 2000, it’s
getting worse. There were more than 70,000 deaths from overdoses [in 2019], and
it does not look like it is going to get better.”
What’s the most rewarding aspect of what he does?
“Helping people,” Geronian said. “You reach an expertise and knowledge about
what to do next.” And patients improve, particularly with the appropriate
Although working locum tenens does not provide all of the
traditional employment benefits, Geronian finds that the income he receives
allows him to pay for health insurance and make a good living. Staff Care also
insurance and professional liability coverage for their locum providers, and
those that choose to travel can get their housing and travel expenses covered.
Thinking of a
locum psychiatrist job?
According to Geronian, one key to a
successful locum psychiatry career is finding the right recruiter—someone who
will connect you with the most appropriate locum positions and negotiate on
“Keary [Gauff] is a great guy and is on my
side,” Geronian said, referencing his Staff
Care recruiter. “That’s a huge plus, having your ‘own’
Geronian also recommended psychiatrists considering
locum jobs try working in different settings and with patients who have different
conditions and severity of their issues.
“You continue to learn,” he said. “It
requires lifelong learning.”
Geronian has typically found colleagues pleased
with his arrival on the unit, as he is there to fill in a vacancy or provide
additional support. He often collaborates with nurse practitioners and
physician assistants as he works to provide high-quality care. All in all, he finds
that his locum work pays both professional and personal dividends.
“Quality of life is the most important value
to me, and I live a healthier life [as a locum] tenens,” he concluded.
Locum Tenens Psychiatry Jobs and
COVID Crisis Making Psychiatrist
and Psychologist Jobs Plentiful
Interested in a locum
tenens psychiatrist job,
or another opportunity in behavioral health?
Contact a Recruiter To Discuss Your Goals