By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor Feb 15, 2021
you are a recent medical school graduate or fellow just starting out, or you’re
on the other end of the spectrum and contemplating retirement, locum tenens work
could be the ideal match for your medical career.
short-term assignments allow physicians and advanced practitioners of all
specialties to explore different locum tenens practice settings and enjoy
freedom, flexibility and professional fulfillment. Want to work in a large teaching
hospital, a busy trauma center, a quiet pediatric practice or a specialized
clinic? All of these are possible with a locum tenens job.
take a look at some of the most common types of locum tenens practice settings
and health care jobs that are available throughout the United States.
Read: What is locum tenens?
Common locum tenens
the beginning of 2021, the American Hospital Association reported that there were 6,090
hospitals operating in the United States. Hospitals provide locum tenens with
the opportunity to work in a fast-paced setting and share knowledge and best practices
with many different types of clinicians.
length of a locum tenens contract in the hospital setting can vary depending on
the need. Average locum tenens assignments for hospitals can be anywhere from a
few weeks to several months or longer. Assignments tend to be longer, or are
more likely to be extended, if the facility is seeking to hire a hospitalist or
other permanent physician and the executive team is having trouble finding the
provide employment options in both inpatient and outpatient settings. They also
provide variety for locums when it comes to patient populations, demographics,
census levels, types of specialties and more. If you are eager to learn new
technologies and stay on the cutting-edge of industry developments, consider a
locum tenens assignment at a teaching facility.
with a private physician group opens up a number of locum tenens practice setting
options, ranging from family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine to psychiatry
and a variety of medical specialties.
Staff Care’s recent 2020 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends, researchers found that
facilities and practices primarily hire locum tenens to fill in until permanent
doctors and advanced practitioners are found, or to address staff turnover. Locum
practitioners are also used to cover for staff vacations or continuing medical
education courses, meet rising patient demand, and provide flexible staffing
options during peak usage times and special projects.
practices are known to provide locum tenens professionals with more autonomy
and financial rewards than some other practice settings, which is something to
keep in mind when evaluating potential locum assignments.
Urgent care facilities
facilities have been seeing increased usage and patient census throughout the
pandemic as many people avoid the emergency room at their local hospitals. Even
before the pandemic, data from The Urgent Care
Association noted that there were 9,616 urgent care centers in the United States as
of November 2019, a 9.6 percent jump from the previous year.
These types of locum tenens practice settings provide opportunities for
physicians to utilize the breadth of their skill set as they provide care to
patients with a variety of presenting conditions.
to Staff Care’s 2020 report, 21 percent of healthcare managers reported using
locum tenens surgeons in 2019 compared to 10.8 percent in 2016 and 22 percent reported
using locum tenens anesthesiologists, compared to 10.8 percent in 2016.
Many ambulatory surgery centers offer desirable schedules and flexibility for
surgeons and other health care practitioners -- especially those tired of late-night
and off-hours shifts. Most surgery centers operate on regular business hours
with few emergencies, allowing locum tenens providers to enjoy excellent work–life
Rural communities and more
locum providers can work in any and every type of community, locum tenens
physicians and advanced practitioners have the opportunity to make a major
impact in rural settings, as access to quality care is still lacking in many
more remote parts of our country.
“In addition to an emerging physician shortage, there is a long-standing
maldistribution of physicians in the U.S., with fewer doctors practicing in rural
and inner city areas,” Staff Care’s 2020 report found. In fact, as of December
31, 2020, there were 7,290 Health Care Professional
Shortage Areas (HPSAs) for primary care nationwide, as identified by the
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These are areas with less
than one primary care physician per 3,500 people, or less than one primary care
physician per 3,000 people in designated “high need” areas.
you interested in a locum tenens practice setting that didn’t make it on this
list? Reach out to one of our recruitment consultants to learn more about where
locums tenens work and the many options available to locum providers.
STAFF CARE has hundreds of locum tenens health
care jobs to choose from throughout the U.S.
Contact a Recruiter Now