Top 6 Reasons to Be a Locum Tenens Physician

April 15, 2016 - 5 minutes read

Top 6 Reasons to Be a Locum Tenens Physician

With baby boomers aging, healthcare facilities are experiencing higher patient volumes, resulting in staffing needs that locum tenens physicians solve. Locums are essential members of facilities’ staffs, and their relevance to the healthcare landscape continues to grow.

Below we explore the top five reasons—from finances to perks—to enjoy a path of practicing that really benefits for you.

Boost Income
Due to demand for locum tenens physicians, clinicians can expect to earn more than counterparts in permanent positions. Locum pay is also hourly, so clocking overtime also puts you ahead of salaried providers. Hospitalists and emergency medicine physicians who work a seven-on seven-off schedule can supplement their income by scheduling locum work during days off.

That increase makes it possible for newly graduated medical students to erase student loans swiftly. Providers preparing to retire can top off their savings. Regardless of how you spend the income, locking yourself into a higher standard of living is always a sound decision.

Test the Waters
Residency programs may do a great job preparing you to be a capable physician, but your exposure is limited to the residency workplace and work style.

Physicians fresh out of residency—or looking for a career refresh—can sample new working lives in a range of practice settings, and gain the experience of meeting countless doctors, nurses and patients.

Networking with professionals in far-flung locales could very well open doors to future opportunities that might never have otherwise seemed possible.

Don’t rule out that you might just find the ideal permanent position through a locum job.

Travel
Geography is just as important as finding the right practice setting, and locum placement in a few new locations grants the opportunity to test drive regions, cuisines, and pastimes.

Locum work can take you all over the country, with the recruiting company typically covering all traveling expenses—airfare, bag fees, car rental, and housing arrangements.

Many locum physicians consider travel their favorite perk, and purposely seek placements in destinations they would like to spend time touring.

Flexibility
Working as a locum definitely the ability to achieve real work-life balance. From location to practice environment to hours, it’s up to you. Being able to choose the parameters of your work lets you build your working life around your priorities, and not the other way around.

If travel doesn’t coincide with a settled life, locum opportunities may be right around the corner, literally, as this lifestyle of practice rises in necessity and popularity.

You could always keep your permanent position and dip a toe into the locum job pool to see if it’s to your liking.

Active Retirement
It used to be that a locum tenens was typically a soon-to-retire physician setting limited hours as they eased out of practice. Over the past decade, the demographic of physicians practicing as locum tenens has changed dramatically. However, locums work is still a great way for semi-retired doctors to wind down careers.

The ability to scale back hours with strong pay in a desirable location is obviously appealing. Older physicians practicing as locum tenens also often find themselves reinvigorated by new settings, and valued as mentors sharing insight and perspectives on patient care.

Enjoy the Ride
Locum tenens physicians get to practice without the added burden of office politics, impossible work schedules, or the fear of being laid off. As independent contractors, locum physicians can create their schedule, pass on the time-consuming policy review meetings, and steer clear of bureaucratic struggles.

Ultimately that can save a lot of time and stress. Such freedom can provide much needed breathing room to physicians who are new parents, or dedicated to passion projects. Free of headaches and refreshed by downtime, locum physicians are then able to enjoy the real reason they went into practicing medicine. Practicing medicine.

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