Considering Locum Tenens? This Q&A Can Help

Hero blog Common Locum Tenens Question
Cross Country Locums
May 19, 2021 04:12 AM (GMT-04:00)
Provider Tips

If you’re like most physicians or advanced practice providers, you’ve pondered the idea of embarking on a locums adventure. Increasing numbers of clinicians across the nation have chosen to take the leap to locums. If you’ve been considering it, but still have questions about how the arrangement works, read on. These questions and answers can help you decide whether you’re ready to come aboard as a locums provider.

Locums Q&A

What is Locum Tenens?

Locum tenens means “to hold a place.” It is used to describe physicians or advanced practice providers (APPs) who fill short-term or longer-term vacancies. Clinicians who work locum tenens may be standing in for other providers who are on leave. Locum tenens assignments have also evolved to include staffing startup service lines, filling shortages, and facing patient surges.

How Does the Locum Tenens Arrangement Work?

Physicians and advanced practice providers who embark on locum tenens assignments do not work directly for the healthcare facility. Instead, they contract with locum tenens agencies to offer their medical services over a particular period. The healthcare facility contracts with the agency which then pays the locum tenens provider as an independent contractor.

Why Would Being a Locum Tenens Provider Be Ideal for Me?

Physicians and APPs find locum tenens assignments ideal for a variety of reasons.

  • Some want to try out a new location and facility before settling in an area permanently
  • Others need a change of pace to stave off burnout
  • Still others want to quench their thirst for travel and adventure.
Whether you’re interested in locums to pay off medical school debt more quickly, transition from full-time practice to semi-retirement, or help facilities reopen after pandemic closures, there’s an assignment that suits your interest and needs.

Is now a good time for being a locum?

Now is a particularly good time to be a locum tenens provider. That’s because the industry is facing a growing physician shortage (AAMC) just as facilities are trying to rebuild after COVID shutdowns. Many providers have chosen to retire early. Further, providers who have worked tirelessly on the frontlines are due for much-needed respite. And facilities will use locum tenens providers to fill these gaps.

There is also a pressing demand for locum tenens providers in rural and urban communities and with the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Indian Health Services. Many physicians and advanced practitioners find working with these underserved patient populations intrinsically rewarding as they give back to their communities.

Why Do Healthcare Facilities Use Locums?

Healthcare facilities rely on locums for many reasons. They may need them to fill vacancies for the interim when a provider has left a position. They may also use locums to temporarily cover for physicians or APPs who are on leave due to illness, pregnancy, or vacation. Locums also help expand services to rural areas or cover shifts when demand is high. Locums can help hospitals test patient demand for new programs and services without having to invest in full-time permanent providers. Facilities can also try out providers as locums and offer to hire permanently after evaluating whether it’s a match.

How Cross Country Locums Can Help

With more than 30 years of experience in a variety of placement options, including locum tenens, temporary and temp-to-perm, Cross Country Locums can help. Connect with one of our experienced locum tenens recruiters today.

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