What is locum tenens?
In Latin, locum tenens means placeholder. But it’s a lot more than that. Locum tenens is a short-term staffing solution that helps provide physicians or advanced practitioners to any healthcare setting where there’s a need due to a shortage or a lack in coverage. Some healthcare organizations choose to onboard a locum tenens clinician if one of their permanent clinicians is retiring or will have an extended leave of absence. In many scenarios, healthcare organizations are able to save money by onboarding locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners.
Why I chose locum tenens
Making a career change is almost always scary, but the decision to work locum tenens was easy for me. I knew that I would be able to choose where I would work and when I would work. Permanent positions don’t allow that kind of flexibility. If I decided I wanted to travel to a different state, I could ask a recruiter to find me a position there. To spend more time with family, I could ask a recruiter to find me an assignment with fewer hours. More importantly, though, was that I knew it would allow me to cut down on the administrative duties that burden permanent physicians and advanced practitioners. Not only do they get in the way of clinicians being able to spend quality face-to-face time with their patients, but they also heavily contribute to clinician burnout, which has reached an almost crisis level in the U.S. I knew that having fewer administrative tasks on my plate would allow me to spend more time with the patients I serve and create stronger connections with them, which is ultimately what drives my passion for medicine.
Why I chose LocumTenens.com
I reached out to LocumTenens.com, and I was put in touch with *Ashley. She was very kind and very helpful. I was pleased to find out that if I chose to work locum tenens through LocumTenens.com, she would be my dedicated recruiter. I felt confident from the start that she would be able to give me the personalized attention I needed to make my career change a success. And not only that, but I learned she had an entire team behind her ready to take care of all the details of each of my assignments. This made taking the plunge a lot less intimidating. When I say that my LocumTenens.com team takes care of all the details of each of my assignments, I mean they take care of every single one. From credentialing and licensing to travel arrangements, they have it covered. Their tagline is “know better experience,” and after working exclusively with them for a few years now, I can say with confidence it’s fitting. They know how to provide a better experience for both the clinicians and the healthcare organizations they serve.
If I’ve ever had an issue with the logistics of an assignment or travel arrangements, the LocumTenens.com team is incredibly responsive and quick to correct the issue. They have a 24-hour in-house team so there’s always someone I can speak to, but I’ve rarely had to use it in the almost six years I’ve been working with them. It’s still nice to know they are always there if I need support, though.
How I knew I made the right career choice
Once, I was covering at a location that did not have a regular vascular surgeon. A patient presented with a problem that had been going on for many years. He was just living with it although it had become lifestyle-limiting. He previously enjoyed working in his workshop, walking, biking and traveling, but had given it up years ago. He had seen many physicians that told him they had no diagnosis, nor solution. As a locum tenens physician, I have the opportunity to see many scenarios and various patient pathologies around the country, learn from other specialists and to be more open and creative within the standard of care for my patients that I would otherwise not be exposed to. In addition, I had no idea of the politics of the facility that would deter me from doing what I needed to do. Because of this, I was able to spend more time listening, thinking, and being creative with potential solutions for this patient.
The patient felt hopeful and trusted my diagnostic and treatment plan. We developed a bond based on hope. He waited for me to return each time for the next step, even though other physicians were available. This took over 8 months, as the patient trusted me and relied on my judgement. Ultimately, I was able to perform surgery that resolved his issue after many years and his quality of life significantly improved.
That’s why I love locum tenens medicine: freedom to provide effective change.
What else I’ve been able to do
Working locum tenens has given me more time to accomplish my goals outside of work as well. For example, what I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments to date is that I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the tallest mountain on the African continent.
It’s different for everyone, but training to undertake such a climb can take a lot of time. It also takes a tremendous amount of planning. I wouldn’t have had the time to train if I was working a full-time, permanent position. I also wouldn’t have had the time to travel and actually complete the climb if I wasn’t working as a locum tenens physician, either. Because I decided to work locum tenens, I had the flexibility to complete the necessary training and accomplish this feat.
I would recommend LocumTenens.com to any clinician who is looking for a great way to practice medicine. Locum tenens work gives me the power to choose where I work, when I work and how I work. It allows me to have more one-on-one time with patients, spend time in the community and make a real impact. LocumTenens.com makes it easy.
About the author
Miechia A. Esco
Dr. Miechia Esco is a vascular surgeon focused on full-time locum tenens work and licensed in 15 states. For the past several years she has served as a consultative member on the LocumTenens.com Customer Advisory Board and now serves as the company’s Chief Medical Resource Advisor.