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7 Benefits of Working Locum Tenens Jobs

Most physicians accept the fact that a career in medicine is beyond the range of “normal” when it comes to the demands on your time and energy. The hours are long, the work can be stressful and many aspects of the job are out of your control. 

While everyone is talking about the pursuit of work–life balance, many doctors wonder if such a thing is even possible. This is causing them to investigate alternatives, such as locum tenens jobs.

In a recent profile of today’s physicians, the American Medical Association reported that, during a typical week:

  • 10 percent of physicians work more than 70 hours
  • 13 percent work 61-70 hours
  • 26 percent work 51-60 hours
  • 36 percent work 41-50 hours
  • Just 14 percent work 40 hours or less

No matter where you fall on this chart, simply comparing hours working to hours spent on personal pursuits may not be enough to determine whether your life is in balance.

Today’s physicians are searching for options to make their work schedules more flexible. Some may look at outpatient clinics or specialty practices for attractive daytime schedules, while many find that working locum tenens offers some of the most flexible work options for physicians.

In fact, multiple career options and maximum flexibility are the main reasons why a growing number of physicians and advanced practitioners are opting for the locum tenens lifestyle. 



7 Top Reasons for Working Locum Tenens

1. Flexibility plus control of work options

Does the freedom to choose when and where you work sound appealing? Physicians who work locum tenens can choose their job locations, practice settings and assignment length, with extended breaks in between, if desired. Assignments can be part-time or full-time, and close to home or across the country.

As independent contractors, physicians can work with a locum tenens recruiter to find the opportunities that fit their goals, interact directly with potential employers, and then have final approval of the contract terms.

2. Excellent physician salaries and paid housing

Whether you are a new physician working to pay off medical school loans or an experienced physician saving for things like home purchases, college funds or retirement, the compensation from locum tenens jobs can help achieve your financial goals. 

Locum tenens pay rates are very competitive with salaries for permanent physician jobs—and often higher, due to their temporary nature and the high demand for covering vacancies. Malpractice insurance is usually covered by the locum tenens agency, along with free housing for jobs that require a temporary move.

READ: Locum Tenens Salary Guide: 3 Important Considerations

3. Schedules that fit you and your family 

    Locum tenens travel assignments can allow you to share a new adventure with your loved ones—yes, family and pets can come along—or spend a few weeks living close to parents, children, grandchildren or extended family. Shift schedules can be negotiated to fit your lifestyle, and some locum tenens jobs don’t even require a move.

    For example, some locum physicians choose assignments a few hours from home, use the agency-provided housing during their work days, and then commute home on their days off to spend uninterrupted time with family and friends. Others opt for part-time assignments closer to home, allowing them to cut back on work hours or earn supplementary income. 

    4. A transitional step in your medical career

    Physicians can choose to work locum tenens at any stage of their career. Some new physicians work assignments to gain experience while deciding on their next steps and where they would like to practice. Mid-career physicians may choose locum tenens as a flexible employment option between permanent jobs, and physicians near retirement often find locum tenens a great stepping stone to their next chapter, after closing a practice or leaving a full-time physician job. 

    5. Professional development opportunities

    Physicians and advanced practitioners report a number of career advantages from working locum tenens assignments, including greater understanding of different healthcare delivery systems, professional networking opportunities and enhanced clinical skills.1 Locum doctors can also gain experience working with different patient populations and learn new best practices.

    Additionally, locum tenens assignments allow practitioners to gain experience using different electronic health records (EHRs) and varied models of medical equipment. Talk to a recruiter about the types of assignments that can best hone your skills and advance your medical career.

    6. Less workplace issues, more time for patients 

    Practice ownership has its own set of headaches that can eat up a physician’s time and attention, and permanent/employed physicians typically have to deal with ongoing management issues and burdensome regulatory requirements. 

    As short-term, independent contractors, locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners can spend less time dealing with these bureaucratic and business issues—often avoiding them altogether. This allows you the opportunity to spend more time in direct patient care.

    7. A pathway to a new, permanent physician job

    In the 2017 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends1, over 22 percent of the locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners surveyed said they are looking for a permanent job. And why not? Locum tenens assignments offer the chance to try out a new city, health system or specific practice setting before making a permanent move.

    After working short-term contracts, locum tenens may have the opportunity to take a permanent position with an employer or a partnership opportunity that matches their long-term goals.

    1Source: 2017 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends by Staff Care/AMN

    Find more information:
    Most Sought-after Locum Tenens Specialties

    Locum Tenens Benefits and Licensing

    How to Get Started in Locum Tenens

    LOCUM LEADERS, an AMN Healthcare company, offers access to hundreds of locum tenens jobs in choice locations. CONTACT our friendly recruiters to learn more about the advantages of working locum tenens.