Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare industry has had to adjust to many changes over the past few years. Factors ranging from a dramatic rise in the number of insured Americans to an emphasis on outcome-based care have required healthcare organizations to reassess their hiring strategies and address the challenges associated with the current shortage of healthcare professionals.
In an effort to ensure they can meet the demand for care and serve an ever-evolving patient population, medical facilities have increasingly been turning to locum tenens professionals. According to Randy Hurley, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Locum Tenens division, there are opportunities for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to fill these roles across the country, and this hiring trend shows no sign of reversing.
“The perception of Locum Tenens, which in Latin means ‘holding one’s place’ or ‘substitute for’, has significantly changed over the years,” he says. “While these clinicians have traditionally been used for this place-holding purpose, today, facilities now also use locums strategically to supplement their staff. In this sense, locums have truly become an integral part of an organization’s long-term success and are considered just as valuable as longer-term team members.”
For physicians, NPs, and PAs interested in learning more about locums work, consider these 4 benefits:
One of the primary benefits of becoming a locum clinician is your ability to be flexible with the type of opportunities you take. For example, Julie Ramos, who is also a Managing Director within our Locum Tenens division, has placed physicians at a wide-range of facilities including hospitals, ambulatory care centers, urgent care clinics, primary care clinics, and long-term acute care centers. This flexibility extends to scheduling as well. “Locum tenens can take jobs based around their personal needs or preference to work or not work during certain months,” notes Julie. “Since there are so many available opportunities, you can really be in control of your career and be more selective with positions you take.”
Since locums are able to choose from a variety of assignments, one has the opportunity to build a diverse range of skills while gaining exposure to a wide variety of practice settings. “Healthcare facilities that employ locum tenens tend to cover the locum’s travel and other related expenses, so this kind of work can be a great opportunity for someone who wants to see the country, while gaining experience with a wide variety of medical technologies, record systems, and practice areas,” says Randy. “As you build your skills and diversify your experience, you could very well discover that you enjoy working with a particular patient population or practice-setting that you might not have been introduced to otherwise. It’s also a great way to ensure that your skills are always up-to-date with current market trends.”
The demand for locum tenens professionals is driven in part by the shortage of healthcare professionals. As a result, medical facilities are offering very competitive rates in order to attract the best locum clinicians to their organization. “Employers – especially those in rural areas where the shortage is more pronounced – know that physicians and advanced practitioners understand their value and can be more selective with where they decide to take their talent,” says Julie. “That’s why locums are truly in control of their own earning potential.” Other benefits of being a locum include nationwide travel and malpractice insurance – which are both covered by the employer.
All of the aforementioned benefits have made locum tenens work a very sustainable long-term career path. “Many locums cite the high demand for their skills, high salaries, and abundant flexibility as top reasons for loving the work they do,” explains Julie. “Because of the large patient volume currently being seen, physicians and advanced practitioners can feel secure in their ability to find a job at any time and have more control over their contract.”
According to Randy, if you have the abilities to quickly adapt to change and hit the ground running on day one, you can thrive in a locum tenens role. “Locums might have an hour-long orientation where they get their badge and are set up in the computer system, but after that, are expected to see patients. As a result, if you are quick on your feet, adaptable, and well-versed in medical technology, you’d make a great fit for this type of work environment. Why not try one assignment and see if it’s a good fit for you?”