Perceptions of locum tenens providers have evolved over time. The tradition of healthcare professionals standing in for other clinicians dates back nearly 150 years, although the arrangement hasn’t always been referred to as locum tenens. At some junctures, providers who were willing to travel, take short-term assignments, and fill gaps were hailed as heroes; at other times, they’ve been viewed as unfocused, unskilled, or unemployable.
With decades of experience vetting, interviewing, and interacting with locum tenens providers across the nation, the modern reality has proven the vast majority of locum tenens physicians and advanced practice professionals to be highly-motivated, dedicated, skilled professionals who want to jump in, expand their knowledge base, help underserved patients, and become part of the greater healthcare community.
Today, as younger physicians and APPs embark on locums assignments, they may be prejudged as immature, inexperienced, or unskilled. Leaders may believe that they won’t be able to find specialized locums support or that hiring locums will feel impersonal for their patients. Additionally, administrators may write off the idea of hiring locums as complicated and costly. While each of these perceptions may be true in rare cases, that’s just not what we are seeing with locum tenens today. The reality is – the future is rich with possibility, vetted experience, flexibility and a drive to serve members of our society that often don’t have the access to quality care that they deserve.
The Reality of Locum Tenens
The reality is positive. We see it every day. And in times of crisis – Locums have served as everyday heroes, coming out in impressive numbers to support facilities nationwide in the fight against COVID and the massive surge impact.
There are still many seasoned providers who want to continue caring for patients via locum tenens. These doctors and APPs are engaged, and they are passionate about contributing to the cause, particularly during this time, with the recent pressure on healthcare providers. During the early stages of the pandemic we experienced many professionals returning from retirement to help.
In addition, there are younger professionals who want to make locum tenens a lifestyle. It’s the ideal arrangement for Millennials, many of whom love traveling, a flexible schedule, expanding their networks, and having a broader community impact. They’re driven to make a difference. They make dependable team members. They are geared toward being responsible and maintaining some professional independence. They bring a new energy to healthcare and treat patients with compassion and warmth.
Further, more and more specialists and subspecialists are choosing to work locums. Not only are there general practitioners and family medicine doctors; there are immunologists, cardiologists, neonatologists, nuclear radiologists, pediatric hematologists, and more who want to work locums. There are nurse practitioners and physician assistants of every specialty and subspecialty too.
As for affordability, the locum tenens arrangement can be much more cost-effective than hiring on providers permanently – especially considering the time for credentialling, vetting, interviewing, and training as well as the flexibility of being able to easily release the provider once their services are no longer needed.
How to Make Locums a Reality for Your Organization
Locums providers can bolster your services during this unprecedented time, whether your strategy is focused on resuming surgical care, providing telemedicine, or bracing for a second wave. As your trusted locums provider, we’re here to help. Contact us.