For Doctors & Medical Facilities, Being Informed Can Be the Key to a Positive Future
Locum tenens offers a lot of benefits to doctors and medical facilities. It provides a way to help fill the gaps in healthcare and combat the physician shortage. However, many doctors–and facilities–know little about this category of physician jobs. Knowing more about the benefits of being a locum doctor improves the usage of it from both sides.
Why Locum Tenens?
Physician jobs are not the first that come to mind when considering temporary employment. For a long time, locum tenens was largely a role for retired physicians who wished to continue to work part-time. However, the number of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals choosing this work over the typical career path has increased year over year. Not surprisingly, the number of healthcare facilities using locum tenens as a way to fill gaps is also increasing. As an article at MultiBriefs.com explains “In fact, 75 percent of hospitals in the United States are using locum tenens right now.”
According to a recent survey related to temporary physician staffing trends, the number of clinicians under the age of 40 who have turned to this type of work has risen from 6.9 percent to 14 percent from 2012 to 2014, and the number is expected to continue to grow. Many young doctors choose to do this right out of their residency while others choose to do it mid-career or after retirement. For some, it is a dedicated career choice, with around 7 percent seeing this type of work as their full-time occupation, a number expected to rise to 11 percent. There are many reasons for this increase in interest in being a locum doctor.
Flexibility and Freedom
One of the biggest draws to doctors is the flexibility and freedom offered by temporary and substitution work. Locum tenens makes it easier for doctors to prioritize and balance their work and personal lives, which can help reduce burnout. A locum doctor can travel for work, taking advantage of temporary positions to visit a new city. Some choose it to work for a time in a high-stress position, such as in the ER in an underserved community and then leave prior to burnout.
Physicians may be attracted to locum tenens work for a variety of reasons. Some may want to spend more time with friends and family and others may choose locum tenens to help pay the bills while they pursue other interests, such as research or writing. Some doctors simply are looking for a way to make a little extra money on the side.
Try Before You Buy
Physicians and medical facilities both enjoy locum tenens as a way to try before you buy. A doctor, physician’s assistant or another clinician begins work in a position as a locum job. After a trial period, if the position is to become permanent, both the provider and the facility will have a better idea of whether or not it is a good fit.
Focus On Clinical Aspects of the Job
One reason that locum tenens work has become so popular is that it allows physicians the opportunity to really focus on the clinical aspect of the job. In permanent positions, doctors are expected to handle a significant portion of administrative components. As a temporary employee, there is no expectation or need to focus on any of the business components to medicine, or the politics that might be involved. Instead, the work is simply about patient care, which is why this career path was chosen. Of course, even a locum tenens doctor has to perform some paperwork, but this is typically directly related to the clinical work, such as patient notes and charting.
How Does It Help Medical Facilities?
Locum tenens helps you fill your shortages and improve patient care.
Many medical facilities have adopted these types of jobs to help with the physician shortage. It is expected that by 2025, there may be a shortage of 90,000 physicians in the US. In 2014, around 42 percent managers of healthcare facilities looked for substitution and temporary workers, an increase from 32 percent in 2012. Additionally, almost 91 percent of surveyed healthcare facility managers actually used a locum doctor in 2014.
This type of employment can be used to increase staff during busy seasons or when a staff member is out for a long period, such as maternity leave. These jobs do not have to have a set end date, either. Some facilities rely on this to help them during a shortage when they are unsure whether or not they will need that position for the long-term.
How to Incorporate This Into Job Openings
Education is important to create a positive future that helps physician jobs to meet the need. It is important that doctors recognize the benefits offered by locum tenens, while facilities take advantage of the popularity to fulfill their needs. One important location prime for educating about the benefits of this type of work is in job openings. Including some of the advantages of locum tenens in your job opening description helps spread the word about the benefits.
Both medical facilities and providers benefit from knowing more about temporary physician jobs. These will help to fill in and solve some of the physician shortages while also helping doctors find a position that provides flexibility for a work-life balance and the opportunity to keep their focus on patient care.
Contact us to learn more about how your facility can incorporate locum tenens.