Which should you choose: Locum Tenens or Permanent Placement?

A recent survey indicates that over 40% of physicians experience burnout. Physical and mental exhaustion can make a medical provider incapable of providing quality care to patients. The leading causes of burnout among physicians are long hours and lack of work-life balance.

If you want more flexibility to deliver quality patient care on your terms, consider becoming a locum tenens physician. Here’s everything you need to know before finding locum tenens placement, including each career path’s pros and cons.

Who are Locum Tenens Physicians?

Physicians and advanced practitioners take locum tenens positions to stand in for absent doctors or account for increases in a facility’s demand. Locum tenens can also fill both temporary and permanent staffing shortages. You can combine locum tenens placement with your regular healthcare job to earn extra income. Alternatively, you could join the growing number of full-time locum tenens physicians.

Medical facilities need locum physicians and advanced practitioners at their place of care. The rising shortage of physicians across various specialties has resulted in limited healthcare practitioners, and locum tenens offers an alternative that works for both facilities and providers.

Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens Placement

Locum tenens work is available to all licensed physicians and advanced practitioners. Regardless of their years of experience or healthcare practice, a locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner of any discipline can sign up to find placement with Lucidity. That means you can find a locum tenens assignment whether you are fresh out of medical school or have decades of experience in medical practice.

Other benefits for choosing locum tenens over a permanent healthcare job are:

  • The increasing demand for locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners across the US means finding a job that meets your unique requirements is easier than ever.
  • A physician can earn more from locum assignments than working as permanent staff. Statistics show that the average full-time locum tenens doctor makes $32.45 per hour more than permanent-only physicians with one income source.
  • Locum physicians have more flexibility and autonomy over their schedules. Unlike permanent doctors that have to adhere to their hospital’s schedule, you can make your schedule.
  • Having job opportunities all over the country gives locum physicians the option to travel and explore more career development opportunities. You can relocate to a city that pays more for your specialty.
  • Locum staffing agencies help physicians with credentialing and licensure. They also cover medical malpractice insurance as well as travel and housing expenses for assignments.
  • Taking locum tenens assignments all over the country lets physicians work in different settings and gain new experiences.

Working as a temporary physician has several attractive benefits, but we must also point out its shortcomings:

  • If your assignment requires frequent travel, it may take a toll on your family.
  • Taking temporary jobs in different facilities means constantly adapting your work style to match each new employer’s requirements.
  • Locum tenens physicians are independent contractors that cannot access many of the employee benefits that permanent staff enjoy. You will be responsible for sourcing your health insurance.

Pros and Cons of Permanent Placement

Permanent placement is a better option for a physician or advanced practitioner who prioritizes structure and consistent income. Some of the main advantages of being a permanent employee within a healthcare facility include:

  • Dependable annual salary with productivity and quality measure bonuses.
  • A fixed schedule that lets you know how much work to expect each month.
  • Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plan, student loan repayment assistance, vacation policy, and even maternity leave.
  • Potential job security without frequent traveling–this stability allows you to build lasting relationships with patients and other staff.

The downside of permanent medical practice jobs include:

  • Tedious administrative functions such as paperwork, in addition to patient care
  • Only one source of income
  • Less pay than locum tenens work and less flexible scheduling
  • Contract term is often at least two years, forcing physicians to remain in a long-term commitment after possibly losing interest
  • Limited exposure to new situations that broaden knowledge
  • Going through the same routine can quickly become monotonous and tiring

How Long Can Locum Tenens Work Last?

Locum tenens position timelines vary between medical practices. An assignment can last anywhere between two days to a year or more. or Depending on the facility’s requirements, an assignment may offer the opportunity to extend your assignment, too. In some instances, physicians receive offers for permanent work at the end of their assignment.

How Much Do Locum Tenens Physicians Make?

Locum tenens physicians have the potential to earn over $2,000 per day. Factors such as specialty, location, and experience affect the pay rate of the locum tenens position.

Some of the highest paying medical specialties  for locum tenens practices include:

How Do You Find Locum Tenens Physician Jobs?

A physician can find locum tenens opportunities in all fields of medical practice. The easiest way to secure great jobs is by working with a staffing agency. A staffing agency is a better option for many practitioners because they provide access to more job opportunities and consistent work.

Other benefits of using a locum tenens staffing agency are:

Regardless of your medical discipline, Lucidity can help you get consistent locum tenens employment in your preferred location. We take the hassle out of the process so you can focus on providing the best quality health care services. Lucidity only requires your experience and preferences, and we will take care of the rest.

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