It’s that time of year again: Match Day, when tens of thousands of hopeful physicians find out their future residency and fellowship placements.

Each year, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) engages in one of the most elaborate matchmaking processes known: matching residency and fellowship applicants with their prospective training programs. It’s an immensely complex process—so complex that the researchers who designed it were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics—and on the third Friday in March, the NRMP releases its results. 

While it’s an exciting day, Match Day can also be extremely stressful because there is so much riding on it. But remember: no matter what program you match with, you always have options. 

Whether you’re looking for a job to fill the gap between your residency training completion and your program start date, or you didn’t match with your dream program and you’re looking for temporary work to tide you over while you try again, locum tenens can be a great option for physicians who are still figuring out what they want their career to look like. 

Below, we’ve prepared a Q&A on what locums can look like for physicians embarking on their careers:

What are some of the benefits of working for Hayes Locums at this stage of my career?

There are too many to list, but here are some of the major perks:

  • Malpractice coverage. Hayes Locums provides malpractice insurance for every placement, so you don’t have to worry about the extra expense.*
  • Licensing costs. Our licensing department assists you in obtaining medical licenses for our placements, and will also cover the fees associated with obtaining your medical license, so you don’t have to budget for that cost.
  • Travel. If you’re not sure yet where you want to settle down, working locums can help you explore different locations and hospital environments, so you can get a sense of where you might want to work once you’re finished with your program.
  • Supplemental income. Locums work is a great way to earn extra income, to pay down student loans or otherwise help with daily living expenses.

Can I work as a locums physician after finishing my residency, or do I have to wait until I’ve completed a fellowship program?

Yes. In order to work as a locums provider, you have to have completed your residency. Once you are licensed and credentialed, you are eligible to work as a locums provider for Hayes Locums for up to two years before getting re-credentialed.

Locums work is a great way to fill any gaps in your schedule: for instance, if there’s a longer gap between your graduation and the start date of your fellowship program.

What does working locums require?

Be prepared for quite a bit of paperwork. The paperwork required can be overwhelming so Hayes Locums assigns a consultant to walk you through the process of internal credentialing, acquiring hospital privileges, and obtaining medical licenses where needed.

How do I prepare to work as a locum tenens physician?

One of the best ways to prepare for working locums is to build relationships with peers in the same field and specialty. 

Whether you’re just completing a residency program or beginning a fellowship, references will be an important part of the process. While every hospital has different requirements, most ask for a program director and two or three attendings/supervisors to complete reference forms. At least two same-specialty references are usually required, so building and maintaining relationships within your specialty network is crucial. 

After you complete your training and begin working, it’s also important to find and account for any major gaps in your work history on your CV. Any gaps above 30-60 days will require an explanation on credentialing applications, so make sure you account for that time on your resume.

What if I don’t get matched for a fellowship program? Is locums an option?

Yes—as long as you have completed your residency, locums is a great option to help you keep your foot in the door while you reapply for fellowship programs. 

Working locums jobs can help you prepare for your eventual fellowship by increasing your clinical numbers and providing more experience so you can figure out what you might want to specialize in.

Can I work as a locums physician during my fellowship?

It depends! Some fellowship programs allow their physicians to work locums jobs on the side, while others do not. It’s up to the program’s discretion, so we recommend that you speak to your advisor or program director. 

If your program does not allow locums work, but you are interested in working locums upon completing your training, it’s a good idea to begin the Hayes Locums internal credentialing process three months prior to your program completion so you can begin working as soon as your training is completed.

Keep in mind that you will only be eligible to practice in your residency specialty. To work locums in your fellowship specialty, you must already have completed your program.

We hope the above information gives you a sense of what your options are—beyond Match Day!

If you’re interested in seeing what quality matches might be out there for you, start your locums job search today.

*Any malpractice insurance provided by Hayes Locums is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the operative policy.