Survey Highlights Physician Motivations for Working Locum Tenens Jobs


3/22/2008 12:00:00 AM


Survey Highlights Physician Motivations for Working Locum Tenens Jobs

Alpharetta, Ga., July 22, 2008 Travel. Career flexibility. Professional stimulation. Work-life balance. Extra income. These terms summarize providers' open-ended responses when physician recruiting firm asked what working locum tenens has given them the freedom to do.

Responding to the question were more than 700 locum tenens providers in a range of specialties, roughly 12 percent of whom were certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). Approximately 18% of respondents reported providing locum tenens services part-time while holding down full-time jobs.

"Physicians' motivations for doing locum tenens work were even more varied and interesting than we expected," Senior Vice President Pamela McKemie said of the physician survey. "We're placing some motivated individuals into American healthcare facilities."


Many respondents cited 'control of their time' as their primary motivation for working locum tenens. Representative responses included:

"I get to work when I choose, vacation when I choose, and direct my own life and career."

"The main thing is control over your time. I'm not fighting for vacation time. If my daughter has a special event at school, I schedule myself off."

"It allows me to work for one of the best bosses I have ever had, me. It allows me to organize my time and use my capabilities as they best suit me, not someone else. I get to travel to new places and meet new people at someone else's expense. Sweet."

Giving Back

A number of providers have used that freedom and career flexibility to achieve major life goals, often benefitting "the greater good" at the same time. For example:

One Texas-based psychiatrist said that accepting locum tenens assignments allows him to maintain an office in "a frontier town 150 miles from a city (even 65 miles from a Wal-Mart)."

A surgeon from Washington State responded, "Locum tenens has allowed me the flexibility and time to do our clinic in Vietnam. By returning intermittently to the USA, I can still stay current and sharp in surgery and the new, good things I see in the USA, I can take back."

Another surgeon said the extra income has allowed him to pay off his home in less than five years so he can build a computer-based business with his quadriplegic son that will provide for the latter's welfare into adulthood.

Perspective and Romance

Many physicians reported gaining valuable insight on their lives and careers while earning extra income through "Locum tenens has given me extra income to completely fund my children's college 529 accounts," wrote a Connecticut-based anesthesiologist. "On a professional level locum tenens assignments have let me evaluate practices of all types (and made me realize that my full time job is not so bad!)."

A physician from a village near Syracuse, New York reported, "…I have returned to obstetrics after doing gynecology only for 13 years and love the experience. I have left the desktop, 'comfort zone' of same day in, day out and feel I am 'back practicing medicine with a smile on my face.' "

One CRNA even found true love during a locum tenens assignment. "It is all about location, location, location," the Florida-based provider wrote. "… I met my husband of 17 years working in a little town of NC. That is a great story of happiness for both of us." Best of Staffing Client Logo Best of Staffing Talent Logo Fortune Best Workplace Logo NALTO Logo Beyond Profit Logo