The 411 on Working Locum Tenens
So you're thinking about taking a locum tenens opportunity, and
undoubtedly you've got some questions. Below are some answers to
commonly asked questions by locum tenens providers:
What in the world does "locum tenens" mean?
Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that means "to hold the place of, to
substitute for." In layman's terms, it means a temporary physician.
To read more about the history of the locum tenens industry, click
Physicians choose to accept locum tenens assignments for
many different reasons. Many like the option of trying out
different practice styles and geographic locations before making a
permanent commitment. In fact, statistics show that a high
percentage of residents are unhappy with their first practice
setting, often because the style of practice is not what was
expected or the administrative physician staffing agendas were not
Physicians in mid-career transition often see working locum
tenens as an opportunity to try out different areas and bridge the
gap on income while searching for the right permanent position.
Seasoned physicians enjoy the option of scaling back but not
retiring from medicine completely. A recent industry survey of more
than 500 physicians showed these top 4 reasons for working
- 48% - Flexible schedule
- 38% - Travel opportunities
- 35% - Earn extra income
- 34% - Clinical experience
Working locum tenens gives you the freedom to decide if all your
critical needs and desires such as geography, income potential,
practice style, administrative agendas and community profile match
up with your long-term goals.
Again, there are a variety of reasons that healthcare
facilities take advantage of locum tenens physician staffing. Locum
tenens physicians often fill in while other physicians are on
vacation or sabbatical, supplement seasonal physician staffing
needs during peak seasons or for permanent vacancies. Utilizing
locum tenens physicians is often very cost effective for
facilities, who can supplement their permanent staff rather than
staffing at the maximum levels at all times.
Earning potential depends on your medical specialty and
the job description. Most locum tenens companies pay the physician
as an independent contractor on a per diem basis. Some contracts
are based on an hourly scale and overtime and on-call time are paid
at time and a half after a 40-hour workweek. Here's some examples
of pay scales by specialty:
$520 to $640
$520 to $640
$650 to $750
$800 to $900
$1,300 to $1,400
$1,000 to $1,500
$500 to $600
$1,200 to $1,500
$600 to $750
If you decide to work with LocumTenens.com, keep in mind that we
cover your medical malpractice insurance, travel and housing
Can I work wherever I want? Sure!
LocumTenens.com has opportunities available nationwide - just check
out the locum tenens job search function.
What if I want to work in NY but only have a FL
license? Unless it is a federal facility you cannot work
in another state without an active state medical license. Most
recruiting agencies will assist you in obtaining medical licenses
in other states.
Below are three tips for success when working locum
Understand the nature of LT
assignments. LT assignments come in all shapes and sizes,
every possible kind of practice, and assignment lengths vary
greatly. Most often, the assignments last from a few days to a few
weeks. In some instances -- such as with government contracts --
the length may extend for months or up to a year. In some cases, LT
assignments represent temp-to-perm opportunities.
Be flexible regarding the
assignments you are willing to work. Locum tenens firms
represent a wide variety of employment opportunities, and not every
potential assignment can send you to Miami Beach or beautiful
Alaska. So the greater your flexibility in types of assignments
you're willing to accept, the more you'll be able to work and the
more likely your recruiter will start calling you first when prime
assignments do become available.
Communicate regularly with
your recruiter. Make sure you stay in touch with your
regular LT recruiter and indicate how she can reach you if you are
not accessible through normal communication channels. You'd hate to
miss out on that opportunity in Miami Beach because your recruiter
couldn't get you on the phone in time!