The Best Time in Your Medical Career to Try Locum Tenens

Physicians and practitioners who hear about locum tenens are often curious: what would be the best time to try this unique model for practicing medicine? Is it suited for new clinicians who are just starting out, or those in the prime of their careers? What about practitioners close to retirement?  

Yes, yes and yes.

The flexibility of locum tenens can make it the perfect fit at various times in your medical career, with options for full-time or part-time work, local or travel assignments, and contract terms for specific periods of time that you get to pick.

The reasons and “best time” for working locum tenens jobs can be as individual as you are. 

Locum tenens for new physicians & practitioners

Physicians and advanced practitioners who have recently completed their residency, fellowship, or other advanced training can use locum jobs to provide important work experience and income while waiting for the right long-term opportunity to open up.

Locum assignments can also help new practitioners try out a variety of work settings and locations, and ultimately figure out the best way to start their careers. And residents and other new practitioners have found that working part-time locum jobs that supplement their full-time salaries—a.k.a. “medical moonlighting”—is an effective way to help pay down their medical school debt.

Some locum jobs may require post-residency experience, so be sure and ask a recruiter about the requirements for your particular specialty. 

Locum tenens for established clinicians

Physicians and other practitioners with a few years of experience under their belt can also use locum assignments in a variety of situations. Part-time locum jobs can be used to earn extra income on their days off, or as an alternative to full-time work that allows them to spend more time raising young children.

Full-time locum assignments can help practitioners continue earning a good income between permanent positions, or offer a welcome change from a job that has become overwhelming.

Considering a big career change? Many practitioners have discovered that locum assignments can allow them to “try before they buy,” essentially trying out a new city or employer before making a permanent move.

Locum work can also provide full-time income and travel benefits for an extended period of time—up to several years—allowing providers the freedom and flexibility of choosing when and where they want to work. 

Locum tenens for physicians & practitioners near retirement

Whether seeking opportunities after closing a medical practice or simply wanting to cut back on work hours and responsibilities, more and more providers are using locum jobs as a transitional step between full-time practice and retirement. Locum contracts may include full-time or part-time hours in your local area, or offer the opportunity to travel while getting paid for it.

Many experienced physicians and advanced practitioners who are not yet ready to retire enjoy seeing new parts of the country while on assignment, often taking their spouses along for the experience. Others design their schedule to work just a few weeks at a time, with plenty of time left for extended vacations between assignments.

As an added bonus, many practitioners discover that locum work is extremely fulfilling, as it allows them to spend more time with patients and leave the bureaucratic headaches behind. Some even choose locum jobs that target underserved patient populations, allowing them to give back and share their extensive experience where it is needed most.

No matter when you decide to give locum tenens a try, it just might be one of the best decisions in your medical career.


Related:

Why Locum Tenens May Be Your Best Option Before Retirement
The Real Story Behind The Locum Life 
9 Reasons to Try Locum Tenens in 2019

 
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