Today, more healthcare employers are hiring locum tenens physicians and practitioners to compensate for shortages in their staffing teams. According to reports by Medical Economics, the number of hospitals that staffed locum physicians rose from 22% in 2009 to 55% in 2013.  The report further indicates that of 230 healthcare facilities surveyed in 2014, 90% reported using temporary physicians in the last twelve months, a 16% increase from 2013. The nation’s escalating physician shortage is creating more need for locum tenens physicians throughout the United States.

“There are many benefits to the locum tenens physician lifestyle,” explains the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations® (NALTO®). “Locums physicians often enjoy higher pay scales, more variety in medical cases, a broad array of work locations from which to choose, and the flexibility to build their own schedules.”

Specifically, the locum tenens lifestyle allows for more:

  • Career Independence: “When physicians were mostly small business owners, they had a high financial and emotional investment in their practices and tended to put down roots.  As employees, they are more likely to pull up stakes if compensation, schedules, or other factors are not to their liking.” one locum staffing expert explains. A huge benefit of being a locum tenens physician is the ability to choose from a greater variety of opportunities instead of waiting for those jobs to come to you.
  • Career Flexibility:  In an article written for, Dr. Janice Boughton states, “Full-time locum tenens work that pays significantly more than I made as a full-time Primary Care Physician, has a schedule of seven days a week, every other week, for twelve hours a day, allowing me to have real time off.”
  • Personal Fulfillment:  NALTO reports “Many physicians who practice locum tenens find it to be a very fulfilling career experience.  You will have the opportunity to meet new contacts and treat a broader array of patient cases.” On top of that, you’ll know that, by working a locum tenens assignment, you’re truly helping a hospital and community in need of quality care.
  • Financial Fulfillment:  If you’re looking for extra income to pay off medical school, or finance a new business or home, locum tenens is a great way to earn supplemental income. Many physicians work part-time locums jobs in addition to their regular full-time employment.
  • A Greater Range of Career Experience:  According to NALTO, “As a locum tenens physician, you will be exposed to many new environments and hospital systems,” By adapting to every new situation, you will be presented with greater opportunities to expand your career.”
  • The Chance to ‘Test Drive’ a New Career:  Doctors who are unsure of where they wish to reside or the kind of work they wish to perform, turn to locum tenens assignments because it provides them with a chance to travel the country while doing meaningful work. 
  • A Means to Fight Physician Burnout:  Burnout is an increasing problem in the healthcare industry, and locum tenens work can serve as an avenue to relieve stress. In a letter for The Hospitalist, Dr. Geeta Arora states, “I get to pick and choose how often I work and, most importantly, when I do work.  I can happily say I am more able to give my patients the care that they deserve.”
  • More Employment Opportunities:  One Medical Economics article states, Growth in locum tenens positions is expected to continue, given that 31% of the managers polled say they plan to increase staff due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and another seven percent plan to increase temporary physician staffing to address patient increases.”

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