Why Become a Locum Tenens?
Locum work may be something you’ve thought idly about but never really pursued. Many physicians are drawn in by the allure of travel, but there are are other factors for you to consider before you become a locum tenens like how fast you want or need to pay down debt and how willing you are to be away from loved ones for an extended period of time.
Pros to Become a Locum Tenens
There are many reasons to take your career on the road.
You can pay down debt — fast.
If you’re committed to practicing in a particular location, your income can be limited by the area’s opportunities, cost of living, and more. By being flexible in the assignments you take, you can maximize your earning potential. Some locales have a tough time recruiting physicians, so wages are commensurately higher. Often, locums assignments include stipends or other arrangements for travel and lodging, letting you put more of your money toward your medical school or other debt and helping you pay it off faster.
You can leave administrivia behind.
You probably didn’t become a doctor to spend hours filling out tedious paperwork, but in a traditional practice setting, you might spend a disheartening amount of time doing just that. If patient care — and having a life outside of work — are your passions, a locums job might be the perfect fit. Generally, the organization that hires you handles billing and scheduling concerns, leaving you free to focus on providing excellent care.
Cons to Become a Locum Tenens
Living on the road can be challenging, especially if you’re someone who has a family or roots they want to plant.
Starting over can be tough.
Working as a locum can have a lot of bright spots — steering clear of the politics of an organization and not be required to attend staff meetings being chief among them — but starting over, professionally and socially, can be a bit of a drain. If you’re someone who dreads new hire orientations, taking a longer-term assignment can help you settle in a bit more while you can still enjoy the perks of being a locum.
Being away from home isn’t always easy.
Locums work is sometimes seen as a young doctor’s game. As mortgages, marriages, and children enter your life, your responsibilities at home grow, and being away for weeks at a time may seem logistically impossible. If you’re willing to be creative, however, you can make it happen. You may be able to negotiate a flexible enough schedule to make it home quite often. And if you’re at a point in your career where part-time, well-paying work is what you really need, a locum tenens assignment could be just the ticket.
Becoming a locum tenens isn’t for everyone, but with the diversity of opportunities out there, it may be a better option than you think. Check out our open positions to see if one of them sparks your interest.