You are a private practice doctor looking to sell you practice and settle down in stable physician employment. You are ready to practice medicine without having to worry about running a business. Here’s a question to consider: have you ever thought about physician employment as a locum tenens contractor?
The locum tenens concept has been around in some form since the 1970s. But over the last ten years, locum employment has exploded as hospitals and other healthcare facilities have come to realize the benefits of utilizing locum staff. The thing to understand is that your desire for physician employment does not necessarily mean you have to take a permanent placement position at a local hospital. You do not even have to work for a group practice.
Salt Lake City-based VistaStaff.com is just one example of an industry leading staffing agency that recruits locum tenens physicians. Despite what you may have heard about locum work, Vista maintains there are plenty of upsides to locum physician employment. In fact, they list seven of those upsides on their website:
1. No Administrative Responsibilities
As a locum tenens physician, you would go to work each day and see your patients just as you do in private practice. The difference is that you don’t have the administrative responsibilities to deal with. Though each contract is different in its details, facilities understand that locums are only around temporarily. They are less likely to burden locums with administrative tasks they have no problem assigning to staff physicians.
2. A Burnout Buster
Years of working as a private practice doctor can easily lead to burnout. Vista promotes locum physician employment as a solution for burnout. Locums are rarely subjected to long hours, excessively large caseloads, or administrative duties that take them away from patient care. It’s all about medicine for the locum physician.
3. Better Scheduling
Locum physicians are essentially in control of their own schedules. They can choose the contracts they want to take based on their scheduling needs, giving them ample opportunity to make time for those things they want to do away from work. And even though locums do not receive time paid off due to their status as contractors, they can take time off between contracts if they choose to do so.
4. Predictable Scheduling
Hand-in-hand with better scheduling are predictable schedules. The average locum assignment comes with specific hours that remain predictable for the life of the contract. If an opportunity with an unpredictable schedule comes up, the doctor doesn’t have to accept that contract.
5. Plenty of Work
Locum tenens physicians don’t have to worry about running out of work anytime soon. There is ample work out there to keep them busy for years. That makes locum work the perfect balance of independence and job stability.
6. Opportunities to Travel
Doctors who want to incorporate travel with medicine find locum physician employment perfectly suited to their needs. Not only are locums afforded the opportunity to travel extensively, their agencies often pay for travel related to getting to and from assignments.
7. Competitive Income
Lastly, locum tenens physicians earn a competitive income. Contracts tend to pay a bit higher because locums are independent contractors who have to pay additional taxes for being self-employed, but locums also receive extra benefits including paid insurance and housing. All the extra benefits combined add up to locums actually earning more in most cases.
There are plenty of upsides to pursuing locum tenens physician employment. If you’re ready to get out of private practice, you should definitely give locum tenens work considerable thought.