Healthcare is in a constant state of flux with an evolving landscape. There are many specialties to choose from with lots of diverse opportunities. As a healthcare provider, making a choice on where to practice and what specialty to specialize in can often be difficult. Could working as locum tenens be the answer?
What is Locum Tenens?
The word “Locum” comes from the Latin term meaning ‘place holder.’ A provider working as locum tenens is a person who temporarily fulfills the obligations of another. Therefore, In healthcare, a locums provider can be employed at a hospital or community healthcare facility that may be short staffed or need temporary coverage when another provider is on leave.
Locums providers are employed by private agencies. Working as a locums offers many opportunities to experience working in a variety of environments and specialties which may include for-profit agencies, academic health centers, state agencies, federal sites such as the Indian Health Service, individual hospitals, and or international staffing companies.
Why Work Locum tenens?
Are you a new physician not sure what area to work in? Or an Advanced Healthcare Provider looking for a change of scenery? Do you want to travel and work in a diverse area in your state or try a new state? Are you a provider who is ready to semi retire but would like to still maintain some kind of professional practice? Locum tenens may just be your sweetest gig!
Locum tenens work offers a broad range of experiences. Flexibility is also a desirable advantage. This ‘gig’ can fulfill your career and economic goals. It offers short term assignments as well as long term assignments that can lead to permanent placement is so desired. If you are looking for a healthier more controllable lifestyle, locum tenen is your gig.
What is Locum Tenens?
Locums may open up many career opportunities you never thought were possible. The gig can lead you to bigger and better career journey with an opportunity. You can meet interesting patients, learn about local culture, see how practices are organized, learn adaptability, and broaden clinical skills.
As a provider, you may be approaches by your facility for a more long term assignment that can turn permanent. It’s best to evaluate what type of lifestyle you are looking for? If you are just looking to make extra money on a short-term assignment or an opportunity into something more long term. Those are all possibilities. It’s best to communicate your availability and career goals with your locums recruiter and facility you may be assigned to.
A long-term repeat assignment may offer you creative ways to contribute that may benefit both you and the facility you are working assigned to. It’s best to evaluate your personal career goals as well as family obligations.
Credentialing is the process of assessing the academic qualifications and clinical practice history of a healthcare provider. Any licensed, independent, healthcare professional who has been permitted by law and regulated by a licensing organization to provide services and care without supervision or direction within the scope of the individual’s license needs to be credentialed.
While every state has unique laws regarding medical practice, simply having a license in a healthcare profession does not mean one can start doing anything they want. For example, an advanced nurse practitioner cannot independently start to prescribe medications, or a family physician cannot begin inserting central lines. Even independent nurse practitioners have to follow specific rules, and in certain states, they work under a physician. Simply being licensed does not mean the healthcare professional is at liberty to perform all types of clinical services.
Locum Tenens have in house licensing teams that will professionally walk you through the credentialing process. They do all the work for you and send all your appropriate credentials to specific licensing boards. They may also proactively license you for assignments paying the state fees.
Always wanted to travel and get paid for it? Locum Tenens can also be considered paid the ultimate ‘Work-Vacay’ Experience. It’s literally paid tourism. You can work in amazing places that offer historical and local attractions that will add to your work life balance.
All Roses Have Thorns
While working locum tenens may seem all roses, there are some ‘thorns’ to consider. Various assignments may have you learn new EMR (Electronic Medical Records) programs. The facility may offer you a training period to learn their system. Each facility may have a different credentialing process. You may have to undergo drug testing, and physical exams for each new facility you are assigned too. Flexibility is key when working for locum tenens.
Is a Locums Gig for You?
Locum Tenens offer a variety of diverse experiences and the opportunity to see how various healthcare systems work. Locums also offers a diverse patient population from working in inner city to working in rural farmlands. If you are a health care provider looking for a change, are open minded, adventurous and flexible, you should definitely give Locum Tenens a try. It just might be your sweetest gig!
Ersilia Pompilio RN, MSN, PNP