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Physicians Are Increasingly Seeking Flexibility; The Gig Economy Is Delivering

New research shows 71% of clinicians working contract or locum tenens positions are experiencing “little to no burnout”

ATLANTA, January 31, 2023–The global pandemic may have exacerbated physician burnout, but it also has accelerated the growth of flexible staffing models. These models contribute to higher physician satisfaction and potentially better outcomes for healthcare systems, according to findings from a new survey of over 2,500 clinicians by LocumTenens.com, specialists in flexible, hybrid and temporary staffing for the healthcare industry. Study results outlined in the newly published The Future Of Work: Redefining The Role Of Physicians In The Gig Economy report include insights on burnout, scheduling and technology in both traditional and nontraditional, as well as non-clinical, roles.

“The rise of the gig economy requires adaptation and transformation when it comes to workforce planning and management,” said Chris Franklin, president of LocumTenens.com. “It’s no longer business as usual. Organizations that embrace flexible models that are augmented by technology solutions will be well positioned to attract talent and improve clinician satisfaction, which can only improve healthcare outcomes.”

Many of the themes that have played out in healthcare were validated by these survey findings, including:

  • Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) are still experiencing burnout. Forty percent self-reported that they are at least moderately burned out, with 17% saying they are “significantly” or “completely” burned out. However, 71% of contractors and locum tenens clinicians reported “little to no burnout.”
  • Physicians are restless. At least 61% of physicians who said they are currently practicing report they are likely to look for a new position within the next year. Overall, 27% of physicians who said they will look for a new job reported being dissatisfied with their current position in general.
  • The “currently not practicing” rate is increasing among younger physicians. Twenty-one percent are under 40, 34% are in their 40s, and 24% are in their 50s.
  • More physicians are open to working locum tenens than ever before. Of those not currently working locum tenens but willing to consider it, 73% said they would be interested in local contract work, and 63% said they would be interested in a locums position that required travel. Fifty-five percent agree they’d like to work more hours virtually via telehealth.

“The healthcare landscape is shifting, and physicians are not just moving with it – they are embracing it in an effort to create a better quality of life for themselves,” added Franklin. “The other thing that is changing somewhat dramatically is the perception of locum tenens, which has historically been stigmatized as a ‘path of last resort.’ According to our data, 96% of peers report that they value the contribution of the locum tenens clinicians working in their facilities.”

The Future Of Work: Redefining The Role Of Physicians In The Gig Economy report includes additional insights on roles and preferences of APPs, as well as a breakdown of data based on age and specialty.

About LocumTenens.com LocumTenens.com specializes in optimizing healthcare staffing strategies with flexible, hybrid and temporary placement of physicians, advanced practice providers and psychologists through both onsite and telehealth services. As operators of the locum tenens industry's most-visited job board, LocumTenens.com connects healthcare organizations with medical professionals to ensure patients have access to quality care. Founded in 1995, LocumTenens.com is a leader in the healthcare staffing industry and an employer of choice, placing clinicians who deliver care to more than seven million patients in over 2,400 healthcare facilities in the U.S. Headquartered in Atlanta, LocumTenens.com is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies. Learn more at http://www.locumtenens.com/about.

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Deb Zelnio