How to Explain Your Decision to Make Locum Tenens a Career
When you first told your family and friends you were planning to become a doctor or advanced practice provider, they (like you) might have envisioned that you’d be in a permanent position, settled in one location.
Instead, you’ve fallen in love with the locum tenens path. (We get it!) While you see the benefits firsthand and certainly don’t need them explained to you, it may help to consider how you can tactfully present your decision to loved ones.
- 1. Focus on the fact that they want the best for you. Parents, siblings, spouses, mentors or colleagues may feel that success comes from putting down roots. They may believe staying put is the only way for you to build networks, gain expertise and earn a good living. When talking with them, point out that locum tenens assignments allow you to meet even more professionals, learn from providers and facilities across the country, and in many cases, make better pay than you would in a permanent position.
- 2. Explain your desire to reach underserved patients. If you’re driven to provide care for patients who need you most, explain that to your family and friends. Let them know that locum tenens assignments will allow you to expand your reach. Whether you want to provide care for children in urban areas, adults in remote rural regions, seniors at the VA or indigenous Americans through IHS, locums is the answer.
- 3. Point out your desire for variety. Older generations often value “earning the gold watch.” They may feel that committing to one company and retiring from that company is paramount to enjoying a comfortable lifestyle. This mindset may make it hard for them to understand why you would ever want to switch it up. Let them know that, for you, comfort means having the freedom to enjoy a change of pace. Moving around can help you avoid burnout. Many providers like to test out living in different cities or states. Some like trying different specialties. Some even love to bounce between private practices, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics or other settings. If freedom and flexibility is part of what motivates you, let loved ones know.
- 4. Show them you’ve got a team of experts behind you. Hearing that you want to travel around as a physician or APP might make your family and friends nervous. It can sound like a gamble to those unfamiliar with the process. What happens when an assignment ends? Will you have work lined up? Where will you go next? Do you have to start all over each time? These concerns may be similar to those you had before learning about locums agencies. Explain that you have a relationship with a locum tenens agency you trust and a team who is on your side. Let them know you have experts who set you up with the right opportunities and help you with licensing, credentialing, interviewing, onboarding, travel, housing and so much more. Share your agency’s website and social media channels with friends and family so they feel more confident.
- 5. Assure loved ones you won’t be lonely. They may feel it will be lonesome for you on the road. Explain that you’ll be meeting a whole host of colleagues and making new friends. If you have a pet, you can find assignments that allow you to take your companion along. You can arrange to take a spouse or partner with you; this is especially convenient if they work remotely. You can even take local locum tenens assignments if you're settled with a family and children. The possibilities are endless.
- 6. Let them know it’s an upstanding career choice. As increasing numbers of physicians and APPs choose locum tenens, the caliber of professionals and demand for them continues to grow. Hospitals, surgery centers, private practices and other facilities appreciate and respect these providers for their enthusiasm, adaptability, professionalism and engagement. The vast majority of physicians and APPs who choose the locums lifestyle are lifelong learners eager for adventure.
Hopefully, these tips will help your loved ones catch the excitement you feel about all of the possibilities locum tenens opens for your career. The flexibility, freedom, and enhanced quality of locums life are unparalleled (We’ll admit that we’re biased! But then, so are you!) May your family, friends and colleagues see the light!
To make locums a full-time, steady and rewarding career, connect with a member of our team today.