With the U.S. facing a shortage of up to 139,900 physicians by 2033, locum tenens has never been more critical, both for specialists and primary care providers.

In August 2019, the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO) stated that 90% of U.S. healthcare facilities use locum tenens providers and more than 50,000 physicians work on locum tenens projects every year — statistics that are only likely to grow in the coming years. 

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on hospital staffing across the country, with many physicians re-thinking their full-time positions and considering locums for the first time. 

Why? 

As patients return and procedures resume, many physicians are feeling the effects of burnout. Working as a locums provider, on the other hand, allows you the freedom to choose where you work, how much you work, and how you're comfortable working.

"In this position, you have the option to move on to a different place or hospital if your current situation is no longer serving you," explains Ryan Scharer, Chief Operating Officer and co-founder at Hayes Locums. "That's a real benefit to a lot of people, now more than ever." 

If you're considering this option to relieve some workplace stress, here are five key advantages to keep in mind:

1. Enjoy More Flexibility

Locum tenens positions usually come with a lot of freedom and flexibility — a major benefit for physicians and advanced practice clinicians. 

Typically doctors go through a locum staffing agency to find work opportunities and can choose which jobs they want to take. The location, schedule and patient load can all be taken into consideration when evaluating which positions provide the best fit.

2. Learn New Skills

Getting the opportunity to work in different environments, experience how other teams operate, and perform new procedures offers locum tenens providers an experience they can't get by staying in one place. This exposure not only allows physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to essentially check out locations and practices before making a long-term commitment, but it also improves their resume and makes them more valuable to other employers.

3. Increase Your Income

Locums providers are often compensated at a higher rate than permanent hospital-employed physicians. Plus, the number one reason doctors choose to work locum tenens is to supplement their income. If you're starting your career, locum tenens can help pay off medical school debt. Mid-career? Earn a little extra income in your time off. And if you're nearing retirement, locum tenens allows you to maintain your skillset while working at a slower pace and continue to make money.

4. See New Places

A big benefit of locum tenens is the lifestyle that allows you to explore different parts of the country — something that's especially appealing to residents and physicians just starting their career.

If you love to travel and experience different cultural and recreational opportunities across the country, this is a great option, but don't forget about licensing. You have to be licensed to practice medicine in the state where you’ll be working, so plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need to accept a job.

5. Enjoy Work-Life Balance

Locum tenens offers physicians the opportunity to control their work schedules, income, and vacation time. Many locum providers don't work full time, working for several weeks or months at one location and then taking some time off, making it easy to find that elusive balance between work and home life.

If you're thinking about taking a break from full-time work or want a job with more flexibility, excitement, and new people, locum tenens might be the perfect solution.

As a locums provider, you won't just stay interested in your work, but you're more likely to remain engaged in your career without feeling overworked or burnt out — key benefits after what's arguably been the most stressful year in many of our lives.

For more information about how Hayes Locums can help, visit the resources on our website.

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