The COVID-19 pandemic showed healthcare facilities around the world the importance of staffing flexibility. As the number of patients escalated, hospitals had to quickly ramp up expertise in respiratory care and urgent care, while finding ways to efficiently reallocate resources from areas like surgeries and elective procedures.
Through it all, locum tenens providers were a source of dependable expertise, giving facilities the ability to successfully pivot to meet evolving patient demand.
As we march ahead in the fight against COVID-19, locum tenens providers will continue to augment hospital and facility staff. The lesson learned is validating: Regardless of where a provider is in his or her career, there are myriad opportunities for locum tenens work around the country.
Early Career Stage
Locum tenens provides freedom, choice, autonomy, and the chance to try something new. Providers just starting their medical careers may find the short-term assignments to be key to discovering where they want to work — in terms of geography, facility type, and even specialty. Another benefit: locum tenens careers historically pay more than traditionally salaried providers. This can be especially helpful for getting established and paying off medical school loans.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many locum providers fresh out of medical training stepped in to help offset the increased patient load. Their presence relieved exhausted physicians and nurses who had been working long, grueling shifts for weeks. By giving full-time staff a break, locums providers also played an important role in mitigating physician burnout.
Locum assignments are also a welcome strategy for providers in the mid-stages of their careers. Locum work can be key to reinvigorating a resume, or helping a provider determine what practice area would be most beneficial to specialize in.
The mid-career years are also the time when family obligations and personal responsibilities tend to increase, and locum tenens work offers scheduling flexibility. Providers can determine when they want to work (and where) to better manage their financial, professional, and personal needs.
Later Career Stage
For providers who are considering retirement, locum tenens positions can be the key to winding down a successful career. Working when you want and where you want can be a smart way to stay in the game … while doing so at a slower pace.
Locum positions are also a popular choice for physicians who have officially retired from a full-time career. These temporary assignments allow for a gradual stepping back in, whether the need is to recapture income or to gain the personal fulfilment of contributing to the greater good. In the midst of the pandemic, retired providers re-entered the workforce to help out at overburdened hospitals and facilities, assisting as needed to deliver patient care.
The list of locum tenens benefits is long, from the ability to set your own schedule to enjoying career variety in terms of practice area or geography. Locum tenens opportunities are available at every career stage, starting with medical school graduation and continuing with any future point along the way.