Many people believe that Locum Tenens is career choice reserved for older doctors upon reaching their retirement, but they are wrong. 20% of Locum doctors work Locum Tenens after completing their residency.ⁱ The number of younger Locum Physicians (40 or younger) is now 14% and still increasing. Locum Tenens can be a wonderful opportunity for young doctors fresh out of medical school. Working in a temporary position can help you grow in ways you might not experience in a permanent work setting. So without further ado, here are six reasons to choose locum tenens upon completing your residency.
1. Locum Tenens lets you try before you buy.
In the words of my mother, “How do you know you don’t like it if you won’t try it?” So before you leap to the decision to work at a practice permanently, why not test the waters? Be the Goldilocks of the medical world and don’t settle! Take the time to explore different settings, and find the perfect fit. Maybe a fast paced work environment is perfect for you, maybe not. In which case, just choose a different assignment that can allow a slower pace. The more you’re exposed to different work settings, the more you know what to look for in a permanent position. Locum Tenens provides a multitude of different environments, so you can get a taste of everything and pick the perfect position for you.
2. Locum Tenens can provide a means to explore the nation.
Adventure is out there… as long as you have the money to pay for it. Due to the high expense of travel, most people never get the chance to really explore the U.S. Luckily locum jobs are all across the nation and we at Ascend Med will provide a rental car, Air Fare, and housing/accommodations, so a locum assignment could be your golden ticket to adventure. Dr. Jelica Maze told how locum work let her explore, “You get to experience pieces of Americana you wouldn’t have thought were there. For example, I loved this little place in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with the best wood-fired pizza and folk music ambience.”ⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ Tony Martin, a surgical PA and avid sightseer/hiker, now works only locum jobs and loves the travel, “As of right now I enjoy traveling and being a locum so much that as long as it’s fun for me to do and my body can still do it, I’m going to keep going as long as I can.”ⁱⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ . So if you’re craving a little adventure why not work an assignment in Alaska? Looking for some peace and quiet take an assignment in a quiet rural area. Just wanting to escape the heat of summer or blistering cold winter? Locum work can also be a way to escape the weather, Dr. Val Jones stated on her blog one of her favorite reasons for working locum is just that, “You can live in the warm states in the winter, and the cold ones in the summer. Enough said.”⁴ So whether it be for adventure or an escape, whatever your destination, Locum work can help you get there.
3. Locum jobs offer a way to make extra cash.
Debt, it affects everyone, particularly recently graduated students… According to AAMC the median amount of debt for the medical class of 2015 was $183,000. We all know money doesn’t grow on trees, but there is a lot to be found in locum work. Locum doctors get payed per diem, and can earn extra by working overtime hours, weekends, and taking calls. Another perk of Locum Tenens is the option of using a staffing agency. Ascend Med will supply travel, accommodations, transportation, and Occurrence based malpractice insurance, saving you money you would have had to spend on a permanent position. Still not making as much as you want? Working locum assignments along with a permanent position can help pay off debt and other expenses. When hospitalist and veteran Dr. John Thieszan found himself in debt, he turned to locum work. “I made more money in my first year doing locums just one or two weekends a month than I made in my entire salary for the year.”⁵ So why not make a little more cash working locum?
4. Locum work offers Experience.
Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” And Locum Tenens provides the opportunity to learn. Working in multiple locations allows you to observe different settings and work styles, which you can apply to your next location or permanent practice. Dr. Geraghty works in a permanent position but she still continues to work locum assignments for one main reason, experience. “I think one of the nicest surprises for me about working locums was the reminder that there is more than one way to do things…You get used to doing things the same way over and over again until it just becomes habit and you don’t realize that you’ve been stuck in a rut… people had different practices and that kind of shook me out of my rut.”⁶ Dr. Rimawi an OB-GYN, seized the chance to work locum after graduation and told of how he gained valuable experience. “I chose a different path and instead worked as a locum tenens physician following graduation at the age of 29. By working as a doctor that temporarily fulfilled the duties of another, I was able to gain more hands-on experience in a variety of settings and circumstances. I never would have expanded my horizons in such a way had I gone straight from residency to a full-time job.”⁷ So before you settle into a permanent mindset, explore different ideas through locum work, and gain invaluable knowledge through experience.
5. Locum Jobs can be a solution to avoiding burnout.
The stress of working in medicine is unavoidable, but there are many ways to reduce it such as yoga, eating healthy, daily exercise, and working Locum Tenens. The average level of stress reported by locum doctors on a scale of 1-10 was only 4.8. The majority of these respondents thought that locum work was less stressful to about the same level of stress associated with permanent positions. Why? Well the first reason could very well be the flexibility Locum jobs allow. You get to choose where you work, when you work, and how much you work. If navigating through ice covered streets trying to get to work on time scares you, pick a job in a warmer state. Exhausted by working too early in the morning? Then find an assignment with a later schedule. If you’re worn out and in need of a vacation, take a break between assignments. The point is that it is all your choice and in your control to pick the assignment that works for you. Another perk of working locum is that everything is only temporary, perhaps you’ve chosen an assignment and accidentally found yourself in a metaphorical pit with monsters for coworkers, and you can cling to the fact that you are not required to manage a staff, your assignment will end eventually, and you will be off on your merry way. All of these things can be a wonderful way to relax a little, but the real joy of working locum through an agency is not having to worry about the ever growing mountains of paper work needed to find a job. We at Ascend Med understand the stress and complications of paperwork and in turn we manage the paperwork for applying for licenses, insurance, and other verifications for you.
6.Take the opportunity to serve the under-served.
Sixty million people (approximately one-fifth of the country’s population) reside in more than 3,000 shortage areas. Shortage of medical staffing can mean longer wait lines in emergency rooms, less availability for much needed appointments, and a greater risk of fatality for those who are seriously ill and injured. People often do not recognize just how much their locum work can bless the lives of others. Dr. Sam Azzazy choose to work locum directly after completing his residency, when talking about his experience working locum on a reservation he said, “It’s rewarding to provide medical care to an under-served area staffed mainly by locum tenens physicians. It’s difficult to keep the clinic staffed and open to care for the residents, so the people there really appreciate that they have good doctors to take care of them.”⁸ For many physicians, working in under-served areas in the U.S. inspires them to go on locum service assignments globally. Dr. Renee Volny a Locum doctor and medical volunteer shared how locum tenens led her to serve others, “Working at various locations throughout the U.S. as a locum tenens has given me the opportunity to fulfill my passion and figure out how I can provide the best care in places that need it the most, such as Ghana.”⁹
So now you know that the list of benefits Locum work has to provide is a long one. Locum work can be a great decision for young and old doctors alike. But getting started in Locum work can be a tricky and tedious process. We at Ascend Med know this better than anyone else, and that’s why we will stand by you every step of the way. So what are you waiting for?
ⁱ "Locumstory - Learn about How Locum Tenens Makes a Difference." Locumstory. Comphealth, Nalto, Weatherby Healthcare, Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
ⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ Wilcox, Lindsay. "Locum Tenens Spotlight: Dr. Jelica Maze - The Red Ribbon Blog." The Red Ribbon Blog. Weatherby Healthcare, 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
ⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ ⁱⁱⁱ Saley, Chad. "Finding Adventure with Travel PA Jobs." CompHealth Locum Tenens Healthcare Careers. Comphealth, 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
⁴ Jones, Val, MD. "Can Locum Tenens Work Solve Physician Burnout?" KevinMD.com. 13 May 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
⁵ Cornwall, Liz. "Using Part-Time Assignments to Improve Your Full-Time Job." CompHealth Locum Tenens Healthcare Careers. Comphealth, 11 May 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
⁶ Saley, Chad. "Learning Clinical Skills through Locum Tenens Assignments." CompHealth Locum Tenens Healthcare Careers. CompHealth, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.