Locum Tenens: Jobs for Retired or Burnt Out Physicians
Many doctors reach a point in their career where they experience burnout, which often leads to early retirement. However, completely retiring from medicine doesn’t have to be the only option for older doctors or those suffering from burnout.
More and more doctors are choosing not to follow the traditional physician career path.
Whether you’re burnt out on your current job, nearing retirement, or already retired, you have job options to continue work in the medical field on your terms.
Common Second Careers for Retired Doctors or Burnt-Out Physicians
- Physicians could find alternate jobs as a writer or editor, contributing to a course curriculum, textbook development or a peer-reviewed journal.
- Join the administration of a hospital or the faculty of a local university to teach the next generation of doctors.
- Become a healthcare consultant for pharmaceutical companies, government agencies or medical device companies.
The downside is that many of these positions require an entirely new skill set. Some may even require additional education or certifications.
That’s why an increasing number of retired and burnt out physicians opt for locum tenens jobs, or temporary clinical assignments.
Why Locum Tenens is a Popular Second Career for Physicians
The number of physicians working as locum tenens has risen steadily in the U.S. for more than a decade.
An estimated 90 percent of U.S. healthcare facilities now use locum tenens providers, with positions available in all 50 states, from small rural practices to large healthcare facilities in major cities.
It is often the solution that retired or burnt out physicians want to continue practicing medicine. Locum tenens allows them to finally have more flexibility of time, as well as a competitive salary and options across the country.
Locum tenens physicians often get larger paychecks than their full-time peers, particularly in high-demand specialties like anesthesiology or radiology, based on the regional cost of living and the physician’s experience level. The good news is that if you are nearing retirement, you likely have more experience than many locum tenens physicians out there. This typically leads to higher hourly rates.
Flexible Work-Life Balance
Physician burnout is a serious problem, with many doctors understandably reporting that they feel exhausted and overworked. The demanding pace, long hours, and lack of control can have a negative impact on doctors’ quality of life, personal relationships, hobbies, or ability to travel.
Locum tenens jobs are perfect options for physicians who crave more flexibility in their hours or location and want the ability to continue practicing medicine without sticking to the same strict schedule.
Some assignments are only a couple of shifts, a week, or a few months. Others might be ongoing for up to two years.
When working locum, doctors have the freedom to choose when and how often they work. Build your own schedule, with the option to choose whether you work nights, weekends, or on call shifts.
Locum tenens jobs can be not only a welcome change of pace, but also a lucrative second career for retired physicians.
The salary for locum tenens jobs is quite competitive, with the opportunity for doctors to earn close to double the amount of income compared to their permanent staff colleagues when they opt for additional shifts.
Locums jobs often pay more due to the medical facility having an urgent need to fill the position to ensure there is enough staff to treat patients.
Of course, location and specialty also play a factor in how much a provider can earn working locum. For example, positions at rural facilities may pay more (commensurate with regional cost of living) because it is harder to attract staff to those areas. And, if a specialty is in high-demand at a medical facility, that can also increase the pay rate.
Travel and Test Out New Locations
Another advantage of working as a locum tenens physician is the ability to choose from opportunities across the country.
Physicians suffering from burnout find this aspect of locum tenens work appealing because it breaks up the familiar office setting and allows the doctors to experience new work environments.
Some doctors like to use locum tenens job openings as a way to network and explore a new city or state before committing to a permanent change.
Physicians can also choose to branch out from the medical facilities where they normally treat and have the unique opportunity to work with government facilities like Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Services, or the Department of Corrections.
Locum tenens providers have full control over their experience and where they work.
Build Your Resume
This isn’t only an option for retired or retiring physicians. Many doctors accept locum work at the beginning or middle of their careers, too.
Some use locum positions as a way to build their resume and evaluate future practice opportunities.
You can choose to work temporarily in another practice in your current town or in another state. Wherever you go, it’s an excellent opportunity to expand your personal and professional networks while providing quality patient focused care.
Should a permanent position open up in that speciality or that facility, either now or down the road, you have an advantage: You have the experience and the relationship with them already.
Locum tenens jobs for retired physicians or those suffering from burnout are abundant, and a great way for doctors to work on their terms. If you are interested in finding a locum tenens assignment, click the button below to contact us today.