When you’re early in your medical career––especially fresh out of residency or fellowship––making career decisions can feel overwhelming. Working as a locum tenens physician can provide the opportunity to try out a variety of positions, so you can identify an environment where you can truly thrive.
Whether you’re pursuing a full-time locum tenens career, or taking on occasional assignments to supplement your income, locum tenens has many benefits for early-career physicians, allowing them to gain clinical experience, earn a great income, and most importantly, make a difference in the lives of patients and communities.
Here are some of the benefits of embarking on a locum tenens career:
Try out different locations and practice environments
Not sure yet what direction you want your medical career to take? Locum tenens lets you experience different locations and practice environments before committing to a permanent position.
Locums can also help you find out what you do and don’t like in a practice setting. By experiencing many different kinds of practice environments––from urban to rural, small to large––and working with a variety of medical teams, you can get to know your preferences, so you’re better equipped to find a position where you’ll feel most fulfilled.
It also allows you the opportunity to travel to different places. If you’re not sure where you want to settle down, you can take assignments across the country to try out different locations and see where you feel most at home.
If you’re still figuring out what you want your career to look like, locums gives you the opportunity to try out different roles and practice environments so you can find out what you like (and don’t like), before jumping into a full-time position.
“I think locums can also be great for a young person that’s not sure what they want yet, because it gives you an opportunity to look around.“-Hayes Locums Physician | Southeast
Meet your financial goals faster
Because locums physicians are filling gaps in coverage for hospitals, they are often paid at a much higher rate––especially during this time of high demand due to healthcare worker shortages. That means when you choose to embark on a locum tenens career, you may be able to meet your financial goals sooner than you think.
Paying off medical school debt is usually at the top of the list of concerns that early career physicians tend to have. Locums can help lighten the financial load of student loan debt, and help you pay them off sooner.
Whether you’re supplementing your income with occasional locums assignments, or embarking on a full-time locum tenens career, you can earn more income to meet your financial goals.
“You can earn a good income with locums, and it takes the pressure off of having to work all the time. With locums, you also have to work a lot if you want to earn a lot, but you don’t have to work as much.“-Hayes Locums Physician | Southeast
Expand your clinical skills
The opportunity to gain clinical experience by working with a wide variety of patient populations, practice settings, case types, and medical teams also makes locum tenens a great career choice for young physicians.
If you’ve just finished your residency, you can gain clinical experience while you figure out what kind of fellowship you’d like to pursue. If you’re post-fellowship and looking to expand your skills, working with different patient populations and medical teams can help you learn a wide variety of methods and techniques in a relatively short period of time, that you can then take with you into your future career.
No matter where your career is headed, locum tenens can help you gain the clinical experience you need to grow your skills and confidence.
“Locums allows you to see a different side of medicine––you get more of a diversity of experience, when you practice medicine that way.“-Hayes Locums Physician | Midwest
Do work that matters
Locum tenens physicians have never been more needed than they are right now. Often, a locum can be the difference between a patient getting immediate care, or having to travel miles out of their way when they’re experiencing a medical crisis. In some cases, whether or not a hospital has locums coverage can be a literal matter of life and death, or the only thing standing between a trauma center staying open, or getting shut down.
In addition to the importance of their role, locum tenens physicians often have more time to dedicate to the reason most doctors got into medicine to begin with: taking care of patients. Since they are temporary employees, they don’t have to shoulder the same administrative workload as full-time hospital employees, which leaves more time for patient care.
As a result, locum tenens physicians often report feeling more fulfilled, and more appreciated, in their locum tenens career––because they know they’re making a difference.
“Locums is a great way to feel like you’re doing work that matters. Because these are places that really need a doctor.“-Hayes Locums Physician | Midwest