For physicians that meet the requirements, locum tenens is all about being sent to your chosen medical facility where your talents are needed the most, filling the temporary role as a physician from a number of months to even years. It can be an exhilarating venture not just for veteran physicians, but newer doctors looking to start things off on the right foot.
That said, locum tenens is not necessarily for everyone. It can involve making lifestyle changes and can be a challenging experience for those who are unprepared. For those who are interested in spicing up their careers and looking for a new experience, here are just a few things you can expect from speaking with your chosen physician recruiter and taking the locum tenens career path.
Expect to have a choice of assignments, with remote areas paying more
Not everyone is ready to travel to a remote area for months or years as a locum tenens physician. However, those who want to make full use of their talents have the choice of being sent to remote locations for a higher hourly rate.
It has the added benefit of letting those with a pile of student debt pay off their loans sooner rather than later, which is why locum tenens is such an attractive prospect for new physicians. Keep in mind that you will also have a choice of assignments in more familiar areas, but the rate will likely be lower than the assignments in remote locations.
Expect varying degrees of culture shock
Being sent on assignment to a relatively unknown place and being expected to make big lifestyle changes will naturally come with culture shock. You also have the politics of your chosen medical facility to contend with, which can be somewhat stressful for those who are unprepared. However, considering that you are filling a temporary slot, there are advantages to being the odd one out.
It would be a good idea to research as much as you can regarding the chosen area, so you are not entirely blindsided by everything you have to do. It is also worth noting that not all organizations will have time for a thorough orientation.
Expect a chance to showcase your abilities without too much paperwork
Another significant reason why some physicians prefer a locum tenens career is that you do not have to worry about logistics as much as a typical physician might. When you do not have to worry about too much paperwork in the facility, you can focus fully on your assignment. It also helps that the schedule of most locum tenens physicians is not as hectic as usual, though it can depend on your choice of assignment. It is a more hands-on experience, though it does come with its unique set of challenges.
Locum tenens is a career that is well worth pursuing, whether you are a starry-eyed rookie or a veteran looking to spice things up. Last but certainly not least, expect the unexpected!