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Resident and fellow FAQs

What is locum tenens?

Locum tenens (Latin for “holding the place”) refers to a physician, advanced practitioner, psychologist, or social worker who temporarily substitutes for another clinician. Locum tenens assignments can be for as little as one shift or extend for many months. Locum tenens providers come from every specialty and subspecialty in medicine. They are a critical extension to a facility’s existing staff and provide the top-quality care patients need that they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Why do physicians choose locum tenens work?

In a recent industry survey of more than 500 physicians, almost half (48%) said the chance to have a flexible schedule was a key reason for working short-term physician staffing assignments. Other key reasons included:

Travel opportunities (38%)

Earn extra income (35%)

Clinical experience (34%)

With locum tenens there is no pressure to decide on anything until you are ready. Locum tenens gives you the time to decide if all your critical needs and desires such as geography, income potential, practice style, administrative agendas, and community profile line up with your long-term goals.

How can I evaluate if working locum tenens is right for me?

Locum tenens can be a good fit at many points in a physician, advanced practitioner, psychologist, or social worker’s career because there’s no pressure to commit beyond a temporary assignment. Work as little or as much as you want. Some work locums to make extra money on the side, others use it to test the waters in a new practice setting or to fill a gap while transitioning between permanent positions. And some pursue it as a full-time career. Straight out of residency or nearing retirement, locum tenens is a great career option.

Can I work locum tenens while still in residency or pursuing a fellowship?

For certain specialties it’s possible to place physicians in locum tenens assignments in their last six months of residency. However, your eligibility will be determined by the hiring facility, the locum tenens agency you work for, or even the restrictions of your residency program.

Why do healthcare clients use locum tenens physician staffing?

Hospitals, groups and clinics from rural solo practices to large metro healthcare systems need help in physician staffing for a variety of reasons. When a physician or advanced practice provider is on vacation or a sabbatical, filling in for a permanent vacancy. To supplement seasonal physician staffing needs during peak seasons, it is cost effective to supplement the permanent staff with locum tenens physicians rather than staffing at maximum levels at all times.

Is there work available in every state and in every specialty?

Yes. Thousands of locum tenens physician assignments are available on any given day. Go to the LocumTenens.com home page and enter your specialty in the “Search job keywords” bar. For personalized attention, call us at 800.562.8663, tell us your specialty and you'll receive professional recruiter assistance in finding the right job.

Why should I work with a locum tenens agency?

Working with an experienced agency is a smart move for many reasons. LocumTenens.com has been around since 1995 and our 620 associates are here to help you through every step of the locums process. From licensing and credentialing assistance to paid travel, housing and malpractice insurance, we have your back. We also go to bat for you and negotiate rates on your behalf. We own and operate the largest job board in the industry which means we have more assignments than other agencies available when you want them.

What does it mean to be an independent contractor?

Locum tenens clinicians are 1099 contractors and we put together this Independent Contractor Guide to help you though the details. We’ve also partnered with some of the best banking and healthcare resources in the industry to provide services to you on your locums journey, including:

Allison Nazinitsky - MD, Infectious Disease and Hospitalist Medicine

“I love locums! It’s the cure for burnout and helps optimize work-life balance for physicians. LocumTenens.com is the premiere locums company. I am given one-on-one attention and am treated as if I am their only client. My recruiter is the absolute best, he gives his all to me and goes above and beyond to get me booked at the best assignments.”

Allison Nazinitsky

MD, Infectious Disease and Hospitalist Medicine