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5 Reasons Why Gastroenterologists Are Working Locum Tenens

By: Lauren Brooks | Updated on March 09, 2022

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The physician shortage creates a unique opportunity for gastroenterologists

Many highly-specialized areas of medicine are experiencing the impact of the physician shortage, and this is especially true for gastroenterology. Gastroenterologists require many years of training, and there aren’t many graduating right now. Programs can only bring in so many fellows at a time, so many only have two to three gastroenterologists on board, which only exacerbates the issue.

This means healthcare facilities need to get creative about recruitment. It also means there are a lot of opportunities for locum tenens gastroenterologists.

A locum tenens model of employment is more appealing than ever for gastroenterologists. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Gastroenterologists can choose between out-patient, in-patient and on-call work

Permanent, full-time employment at a healthcare facility, regardless of specialty, doesn’t often lend itself to flexibility. Many gastroenterologists who are permanently employed have to balance their time doing out-patient procedures, in-patient procedures and being on-call. Working locum tenens gives them the freedom to choose how to use their time.  

If a gastroenterologist only wants to do procedures but doesn’t want to see patients in the clinic for follow up, locum tenens recruiters can find them an assignment that only requires them to do procedures. 

2. Locum tenens work allows gastroenterologists to replace or exceed their full-time salaries 

Many gastroenterologists are surprised to learn that their colleagues who are doing locum tenens work make just as much, if not more, than when they were working full-time for a healthcare facility.  

One gastroenterologist I’m working with has replaced his full-time salary while working locum tenens one month on and one month off throughout the year, and this flexibility has eased the burden of the job and erased the feeling of burnout.  Because the intensive schooling is so expensive for those who choose to practice gastroenterology, being able to replace or exceed a full-time salary while working less time can be life-changing.

3. Working locum tenens affords gastroenterologists flexibility, work-life balance 

The pandemic has made many gastroenterologists reconsider how they want to work, and the flexibility of working locum tenens is more appealing than ever. Some choose locum tenens because recruiters can create call schedules for them each month, allowing them to balance their already busy schedules. This works out especially well for working parents. For example, I work with one gastroenterologist with a young child who only works on the days she has childcare. The locum tenens model of employment can accommodate a flexible lifestyle that permanent, full-time employment can’t. 

4. Gastroenterologists are able to avoid overhead 

Because practices had to cancel elective colonoscopies, endoscopies and other procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, many private practices closed their doors altogether or were bought by major hospitals or big groups. Operating a private practice is expensive. For those gastroenterologists who don’t want the additional overhead that comes with uncertainty or owning a business, locum tenens work has become more appealing.

5. Working locum tenens allows gastroenterologists to maintain and expand their skillset 

One of the gastroenterologists I work with is employed full-time by the VA, and his patients are typically fairly healthy, so he isn’t seeing a wide variety of cases. This gastroenterologist chooses to work locum tenens to supplement his experience. Every so often, he takes assignments within other clinical settings so he can stay up-to-date with the skills required to treat more complex cases.

Many gastroenterologists in similar situations don’t complete enough advanced endoscopy procedures in their case logs to maintain certification. By working locum tenens in different settings, they can maintain their certification and continue to practice at the same level. Are you interested in working locum tenens? Speak with a recruiter today.

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About the author

Lauren Brooks

Lauren Brooks started her career at LocumTenens.com in 2014 and now serves as Recruitment Manager on the Internal Medicine Subspecialties team, establishing and building relationships with clinician and hospital contacts to ensure their experience with the company is exceptional.