Spring cleaning projects have likely distracted most of us from the focus of New Year’s Resolutions that have long since fallen by the wayside. This is yet another opportunity (aka excuse,) to clean out your closet, start that home landscaping endeavor, or even reevaluate and examine your career options.
As the second quarter of 2016 is well under way, every industry is constantly updated on the hot buttons of “what’s currently trending.” In healthcare, it’s topics like continued hospital consolidation, fewer single physician practices, increased usage of NPs and PAs as “point of entry” healthcare providers, and more clinicians taking on locum tenens work.
While attending a recent industry conference, I was surprised by all the physicians/surgeons we spoke with who had never even considered locum tenens as a possibility. Whether just beginning their medical career, or on the back-end headed toward retirement, some weren’t even aware this was a path they could go down. Still others had preconceived notions that this type of work wasn’t a fit for them, as many have a difficult time dealing with change and it’s not suitable for everyone.
Concerns we heard included factors like:
• Too busy raising a family and juggling my career
• No free time for additional work
• Wouldn’t want to uproot my school-aged children
• Content and/or preoccupied with their current full-time position
All valid justifications (although locum work doesn’t necessarily result in the need to displace an entire family,) but examine the food for thought below on why a provider would consider locum work, and then decide what route is best for your livelihood as a healthcare provider.
Reasons to contemplate working as a locum tenens:
Money, Money, Money
At the end of the day, providing healthcare is big business, and if a facility or practice is understaffed or their patients aren’t attended to/cared for properly, they stand to lose a decent chunk of revenue (not to mention their reputation in the community.) Therefore, locum tenens become a viable option as many facilities are willing to pay a pretty penny to make sure they avoid these problems. Typically, locum providers are paid well (especially positions that require call.) Some make a career doing only locum work, while others would agree it is a particularly good way to earn supplemental income.
Perhaps you only want to work part time, are looking for a more flexible schedule, or just enjoy moonlighting. With locums, it’s easier to dictate which assignments you chose and virtually make your own schedule of how much, or how little you want to work. Some jobs may last a couple days during holiday coverage, and others are contracted for an “ongoing” period of time. A standard schedule might be something like a week on for 12 hour shifts, then a full week off which gives you time to be back home with family and friends, get those CMEs, or take a well-deserved trip somewhere.
For those looking to update their knowledge base, add variety to their CV, or test the waters in a different environment, locums is a great opportunity to gain clinical experience outside “the norm” of your current situation. (I.e. contributing to a larger hospital or higher call volume facility, working in a smaller group practice than you are typically used to, working with a different patient population, etc.)
Some thrive on a consistent daily routine, others prefer to mix it up and add a little diversity or unpredictability. New colleagues, new environments, and new patient problems can all lead to rewarding encounters for personal and professional growth.
Incessant Wanderlust Desire
As the saying goes, live and work where you’d want to vacation. (Or is it the other way around?) Regardless, locum tenens is the perfect job for anyone who loves to travel, is looking for geographic diversification, or gets bored staying in the same place for too long. Here’s your chance to interact with new people and communities nationwide in a meaningful way.
Had I chosen a medical profession, locum tenens would’ve been a no-brainer for me. I love to travel and don’t like to make plans too far in advance or commit to anything long term. Can’t think of a more ideal career option that meets my fear of commitment requirements (aside from my stint back-in-the-day as a substitute teacher during college breaks.)
Certain physician skill sets are in dire need all over the country–particularly in small towns and rural hospitals. Go to new places, get to know the systems, get good at using them, help the community, and leave. Very martyr-like.
As recruiters, it’s important for us to find out what motivates providers to do locum tenens work and then do our very best to help them reach those goals. At agencies like All Star, we facilitate all the details starting with obtaining and reviewing the providers’ CV and verifying their experience (along with their work preferences.) We operate 100% on contingency- which means we only get paid when our providers actually work. So in short, it is absolutely essential to have as many viable options as possible.
If both parties (client and provider,) are interested and phone interviews take place, our recruiters will then assist with all the credentialing, licensing in new states, and scheduling of the assignment(s). In our case, All Star will also coordinate and cover the travel, lodging, and Professional Liability so our providers can spend their free time getting back to those important ventures–like reorganizing the garage.
Stay busy in your field, enjoy your time off, accomplish other goals, and make a ton of money? Sign me up!
Mindy J. Goldberg is the Marketing Director at All Star Recruiting. She can be reached at Mgoldberg@allstarrecruiting.com.
"When I was initially contacted by All Star, I had already been approached by several companies and presented to quite a few opportunities so I didn't think I needed to speak to another firm. What I didn't count on was All Star having another eight positions which other agencies didn't have. Now I'm happily working at one of the options they offered. Thanks!"
- Bal A., M.D.
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